'Every day' vs. 'everyday'

A while back, I saw written on a truck something like, “Delivering the best to you everyday.” I see that use of “everyday” a lot, which is unfortunate. The two-word version, “every day,” would have been a better choice.

According to a number of dictionaries, including Webster’s New World, the one-word “everyday” is an adjective. Adjectives modify nouns. “We offer everyday values.” Here, the one-word version is correct because it’s doing what an adjective should do -- modifying a noun.

But the message on the delivery truck didn’t call for an adjective. Try plugging in a different adjective, for example, “great,” in the example sentences above. You end up with “Delivering the best to you great.” If that were truly a sentence that called for an adjective, “great” would have worked fine, as it does in “We offer great values.”

So you can see that this usage actually calls for an adverb.

Adverbs answer the question when? where? or in what manner? The passage “Delivering the best to you every day” calls for an adverb because it needs something to answer the question “when?”

“Every day” is a noun phrase. It consists of a noun, “day,” and an adjective modifying it. Together, they work as a single unit in our example to function as an adverb: Delivering the best to you every day.

If that's more than you care to take in right now, just remember that the one-word “everyday” is an adjective and you’ll never have to worry about bloggers pointing out mistakes on your delivery truck.

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