Monday, October 25, 2010

GRAMMAR GURU: Are We Confused Yet?

By popular demand (well, one popular demand, anyway), I am hereby resurrecting the Grammar Guru.  Resident of a former blog, Guru is an editor and some of the things she and others have noted will be duly described and corrected in this column, in such a way as to be comprehensible.  Rather than confuse you with phrases such as "split infinitive" and "subjunctive clause," Guru will merely tell you what's right, what's wrong and how to tell the difference, with examples of proper use.  So, without further ado, here's a list of requested words and phrases:

Any one vs. anyone
Any one denotes a specific person:  “Any one of us could go.” 
Anyone denotes any person at all:   “This event may be attended by anyone.”

Any more vs. anymore:
Any more denotes quantity:  “Are there any more?” 
Anymore is a measure of time:  “No one does that anymore.”

Every one vs. everyone
Every one is singular:  “Every one was counted.” 
Everyone is plural:  “Everyone can come.”

Any way vs.  anyway:
Any way means exactly what it says—any way/any method:  “I’ll take it any way I can get it.” 
Anyway is an adverbial substitute for “anywise” or “anyhow,”—meaning “in any case.”  “It doesn’t matter anyway.”

Any time vs. anytime:
Any time is specific: "Any time this happens, it's wrong."
Anytime is a generality meaning 'at any time whatsoever.'  "You can get that anytime."

All right vs. alright
The dictionary says these are interchangeable, but as an editor Guru can tell you that it strikes an immediate sour note with her whenever she sees "alright." 
Alright has only recently come into vogue and is still regarded by those of the old school as slang, and there is nothing wrong with using all right.  And since you don’t know whether you might get an old-school editor, the Guru advises using all right.  It's like wearing a classic clothing style.   You might not be trendy, but you'll never be wrong.


  1. Happy to meet the Grammar Guru! We writers need all the editorial help we can get, and we are all ready to learn more already :-)

  2. Hi Miriam, I LOVE the Grammar Guru! I've always been really obsessive about grammar, to the point where my daughter (during English homework) once called me "Grammariffic." I'm not sure if this was a compliment or not, but the name stuck, and now my son uses it to. Great post.

  3. I was just asking one of my critique partners this past week about every one versus everyone, and voila, Grammar Guru to the rescue. Thanks, Miriam!

  4. Thanks, Cynthia and Susan. I'll be sure to let Guru know she was helpful. She does wonder sometimes...

  5. Absolutely wonderful seeing the Guru back in action!