Wordwatch Towers

A plain language guide to punctuation, grammar and writing well.

Everyday or every day?

with 3 comments

A photo from 1899 showing the use of toothbrush.
Image via Wikipedia

In last weekend’s Sunday Times magazine, Colgate ran a full-page ad claiming that its ‘Sensitive Pro-Relief’ product offers: Long lasting relief … when you brush everyday.

In this case, that ‘everyday’ should be ‘every day’ (two words).

How do you know which to use? Easy.

If you’ve written ‘everyday’, ask if what you mean is ‘each day’ — which is what the writer of the Colgate ad meant. ‘Each day’ is two words and so ‘every day’ should be two words. So, it’s correct to write:

I brush my teeth every day (or ‘each day’)

Everyday

So when is ‘everyday’ used? Well, it can be used, for example, like this:

Brushing my teeth is an everyday activity.

You can see that you wouldn’t write here:

Brushing my teeth is an ‘each day’ activity.

You’ll often see everyday/every day used wrongly — just apply the ‘each day’ test and you’ll then avoid adding to this particular catalogue of errors.

Similar confusion can arise with ‘everyone’ and ‘every one’

More commonly confused words

Wordwatching

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3 Responses

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  1. 8 out of 10 people do not keep this in mind!

    Vikas Gupta

    19/11/2009 at 9:23 am

    • You’re right there, Vikas — it’s an easy mistake to make, but ad copywriters should know better.

      Deborah

      19/11/2009 at 11:04 am

  2. I’m just glad I don’t have to wear her corset or wash her long locks in a bowl every day.

    Michael Farrell

    29/03/2010 at 2:41 pm


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