If you're wondering what the difference is between 'any way' or 'anyway,' you're not alone. This one commonly trips people up. In this article, you'll learn the meaning of each term and how to use it.
In short, 'any way' means 'by whichever means possible,' and 'anyway' means 'regardless.'
The only difference between these two terms is one little space. And yet, it changes everything. And that's the bit that trips people up. The space separating the two words changes the nature of the word entirely. You see it in many other words in the English language, such as 'everyone vs every one' or 'anytime vs any time.'
Because 'anyway' is one word only, it's classed as an adverb, which means it has a particular function and should be used according to adverbial conventions.
To do something 'any way' means to do it:
You can do, say, wear, see, or write something in any way. In fact, you can probably combine 'any way' with most verbs.
It can help to look at each word individually. 'Any' means "some or even the smallest amount or number of," and 'way' means "a particular choice, opinion, belief, or action, especially from among several possibilities."
'Anyway' has several meanings. Depending on the context, it can:
How do you pronounce 'any way' or 'anyway'? Firstly, it's important to note they are both pronounced the same. The International Phonetics Alphabet spells them like this:
And when you say it, it sounds like this:
The first syllable sounds like the letter 'N,' the second syllable sounds like the letter 'E,' and the third syllable is pretty straightforward; it's the word 'way.'
Why don't we take a look at some examples of 'any way' and 'anyway' used in a sentence? Seeing them in context should help clarify the meaning of each term.
Remember, each one has several meanings, but you should be able to deduct that meaning from the context. We'll start with 'any way.'
Is there any way you could babysit for me this afternoon?
I'll help in any way I can.
There isn't any way that you could have known this would happen.
You can decorate your room any way you like.
He doesn't want anything to look different in any way when he returns.
That's very interesting, Kevin. Anyway, back to the topic at hand.
Where are you anyway?
It was the worst storm we'd seen in years, but he went outside anyway.
We really don't need a new car, and besides, we can't afford it anyway.
I asked you not to misbehave for your nan, and you did it anyway.
So there you have it; two different words, two different meanings. But as long as you remember to treat 'anyway' as an adverb and 'any way' as two separate words that complement each other, you should be good to go.
And if you'd like to learn to differentiate more words like this, check out our Confusing Words blog.
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