Word Confusion: Any Way vs Anyway vs Anyways

Posted May 19, 2012 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Editing, Self-Editing, Word Confusions, Writing

Yes, the any way / anyway / anyways word confusion is confusing. Noting the differences between these words is only one of the ways in which a writer can self-edit his or her work as there is a distinct difference when using words singly as a phrase or coupling them as a compound word.

Any way you can give your work a leg up is a positive. Anyway, you should consider bookmarking this post for future reference.

Anyways, this particular confusion is not with anyway alone. A few of the other similar confusions include into vs in to“, “onto vs on to“, “awhile vs a while“, “downstairs vs down stairs“, and “however vs how ever“.

With some of these words, coupling them or using them singly provides a different meaning. With others, such as down stairs, it simply doesn’t exist. Yet.

Other any posts include “Any More versus Anymore“, “Any One versus Anyone“, and “Any Time versus Anytime“.

Word Confusions…

…started as my way of dealing with a professional frustration with properly spelled words that were out of context in manuscripts I was editing as well as books I was reviewing. It evolved into a sharing of information with y’all. I’m hoping you’ll share with us words that have been a bête noir for you from either end. Consider sharing this Word Confusion with friends by tweeting it.

Any Way Anyway Anyways
Credit to: Answers.com; Dailing Writing Tips; Merriam-Webster; English Plus.com
Part of Grammar:
A paired Adjective + Noun Compound word

Compound word

Adverb *

* Adverbs cannot be plural

If the words in the can be substituted for any, the two-word phrase is called for

When any and way are side by side in a sentence, it indicates that alternate means or modes are acceptable

  • In any manner
  • In any method
An inevitable conclusion regardless of the means of attempt

Despite something that has been stated before

  • Used to give added force to a question
  • Used to add something to a previous statement
Colloquial corruption of anyway

Considered nonstandard, it should be avoided altogether in formal writing and only used as dialog to depict an unlettered person.

He’ll try to accomplish this any way he can.

We couldn’t get there any way.

Finish the job any way you choose.

I don’t know of any way to fix it.

Anyway, he’ll try to accomplish this.

We couldn’t get there anyway.

Nobody wanted Amelia to come, but she showed up anyway.

The road got worse, but they kept going anyway.

I didn’t expect her to say yes, but I asked her anyway.

He’s far from perfect, but she loves him anyway.

So, anyways, we all thought we’d go fishin’.
History of the Word:
First known use: 13th century

C’mon, get it out of your system, bitch, whine, moan…which words are your pet peeves?

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