People often mistake the word everyday for the phrase every day.
Have you ever made this grammar mistake? Well, I don't blame you. Not only have I seen people misuse these in casual writing, but I've also seen newspapers and television ads using them incorrectly.
The rule is fairly easy to grasp. Read through this lesson and then take the quiz!
The Grammar Behind Everyday & Every Day
This is an adjective. That means that it can only be used to modify nouns. It's a one-trick pony.
I wore my everyday clothes to the grocery store.
In that example, everyday means commonplace. It's modifying the noun clothes.
This is the form used for all other purposes. It will often be an adverbial phrase. Adverbs modify verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs. This phrase typically modifies verbs.
Seth eats breakfast at 8:00 every day.
Every day is telling us more about the verb eats. It tells us when Seth eats. When is an adverb question.
Every day, I read for at least five minutes.
Every day is telling us about the verb read. It tells us when I read.
Tip: If you can substitute each day for the word in question, use every day.
It's Time For A Quiz!
Are you ready to put your new knowledge to the test? Check out the following five pictures and decide which are correct and which are incorrect. You'll find the answers just below the pictures.
Check Your Answers
Remember that everyday is always an adjective.
1. Keep calm and smile everyday. --> Incorrect
Here, everyday is modifying smile. Since smile is a verb, they should have used the adverb every day.
2. Everyday Magic --> Correct
This is an old telephone ad from the 1920s. Isn't it fun to see how much marketing has changed since then? These guys got their ad copy right when they chose everyday. It is modifying magic, which is a noun.
3. Start every day off with a smile and get it over with. --> RIGHT
We can easily substitute every day for each day, so this is correct.
Did you notice that this isn't an adverbial phrase? Every is just a plain old adjective, and day is just a plain old noun. (For those of you grammar buffs, day is the direct object of the verb start.)
4. Learn Everyday --> Incorrect
Everyday is modifying learn. Learn is a verb, so it needs to be modified by an adverb, not an adjective.
5. Our commitment to excellence goes beyond the usual! Everyday, we strive to maintain a level of quality to match our reputation in the community. --> Incorrect
I took the liberty of correcting the wonky capitalization in that sentence.
Everyday is telling us more about the verb strive, so they should have used the adverb every day.
I hope that this lesson will help you avoid making the everyday/every day grammar mistake in the future!
The Beginner's Guide to Grammar gives you a fun and visual way to get started with grammar and sentence diagramming. Yay!