Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Every day vs. Everyday

The most common mistake I see in commercial signage, besides apostrophes, is using "everyday" instead of "every day." It drives me crazy because the difference is simple, and they mean different things. You would think that before a company would spend thousands of dollars printing their ads, they would have a proofreader look it over. Does this grate on anyone else's nerves as much as mine? Below are two of the latest offenders. Props to Firehouse Subs, though, for using an apostrophe appropriately in Kids' Combo.

It's also not unusual to find "everyday" and "every day" in student writing. No wonder, since the misuse is everywhere. Here's the simple rule, and a few examples to help ground them in their memories:

Everyday is an adjective that means "routine, usual, or mundane."  Examples: You don't want to wear your everyday clothes to the wedding.  Snow is an everyday event in the winter here.  Paper plates are our everyday dishes.

Every day means "each day."  Examples: I eat oatmeal for breakfast every day. Every day is a new start. Someone has to walk the dog every day.

To remember the difference, just remind students that if they can substitute "each day" then "every day" is correct. So the signs above should read "Kids 12 and Under Eat Free Every Day after 4 pm" and "Eat at least 6-8 servings of fruit and veggies every day."

Easy, right? Now if I could just stop seeing these mistakes every day!

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