Word Confusion: Any Time versus Anytime

Posted October 13, 2014 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Editing, Self-Editing, Word Confusions, Writing

Yep, the anys again! Eeek. This one is even finer tuned than Any One versus Anyone. Keep in mind that any time is an adjective, with any modifying a time, a particular time, as in when the bank is open, when a character has dialog.

Now, the compound word anytime is an adverb, which means it modifies or qualifies an adjective, verb, another adverb, or a particular group of words and doesn’t refer to time.

(Other any posts include “Any More versus Anymore“, “Any Way vs Anyway vs Anyways“, and “Any One versus Anyone“.)

Consider the following:
Any time George talks about the news he is shut down.

Too vague, time-wise.

Anytime George talks about the news he is shut down.

“Anytime” is modifying “George talks about the news” which makes this one correct.

“For you, anything, any way you want it, any time,” she purred.

Again, this is too vague, and it’s not actually talking about “time”.

“For you, anything, any way you want it, anytime,” she purred.

“Anytime” is modifying each clause. It could be applied to “for you”, “anything”, and/or “any way you want it”. Nor is it actually talking about “time”.

Do you have any time to read this book?

The speaker is specifically asking about “time”, which makes this one correct.

Do you have anytime to read this book?

If you took the “any” out of this, it still makes sense as “Do you have time to read this book?” Looks to me as if this is talking about “time”, which makes this one incorrect.

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.

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Any Time Anytime
Credit to: Burckmyer, 112; Live Write Thrive

“No Parking sign, New York State” courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Parking sign indicates no parking any time.

A fitness center on the corner of a street

Image by Markddaly (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

A good name for a gym, that Anytime Fitness makes me think it’s open any time whatsoever.

Part of Grammar:
Adjective Adverb
Used when speaking about time


At whatever time

[Informal] Very soon

At any time whatsoever

Without exception or doubt

Variant of any time

I can take you any time you need to go to the bank.

Any time a character has dialog in a book, you should use quotation marks.

Any time is not always the right time.

She can come any time.

We’ll get them back any time.

I can meet you anytime.

You can call me anytime.

We should head out anytime between noon and 2 p.m.

The band should arrive anytime now.

I can handle a shrimp like him anytime.

History of the Word:
First known use: 1515 First known use: 1926

C’mon, get it out of your system, bitch, whine, moan…which words are your pet peeves? Also, please note that I try to be as accurate as I can, but mistakes happen or I miss something. Email me if you find errors, so I can fix them…and we’ll all benefit!

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Pinterest Photo Credits:

Open 24 Hrs – Money Change” by Elliott Brown from Birmingham, United Kingdom, (Uploaded by Oxyman) [CC BY 2.0], “Bar in Seville, la Macarena” is Taks’ own work [CC BY-SA 3.0], and a no-offense intended whatsoever with no intention of impugning this lady’s respectability or intentions, as I am simply using a party-girl image to visually explain this Word Confusion, “Woman scattering confetti at a party” by Andrew Vargas (Flickr: way too much excitement going on.) [CC BY 2.0] with all three via Wikimedia Commons.