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What is the Difference Between Everyday and Every Day?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 23, 2024
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The difference between "everyday" and "every day" is quite simple, and there is an easy rule of thumb that people can use to determine which phrase would be suitable. In short, "everyday" is an adjective that describes something ordinary or commonplace, while the phrase "every day" means "each day." Confusing these two is a very common grammatical error, but it can usually be avoided.

It should be fairly easy to determine which of these phrases is correct once it's clear what each means; however, a writer can substitute "each day" and see if it works in the sentence. For example, if a person can't decide whether the "train passes everyday" or the "train passes every day," he or she could use "each" instead and say "the train passes each day." In this instance, the correct phrase is "every day," because it describes an event that occurs daily. On the other hand, "the passing of the train is an everyday occurrence," doesn't work as "the passing of the train is an each day occurrence."

Instead of using "each day," a person can also substitute "ordinary" in a phrase. A sentence like "I go to the grocery store ordinary" doesn't sound right, so it must be "I go to the grocery store every day." On the other hand, the sentence "a trip to the post office is an ordinary event" sounds perfectly normal, so the correct word is "everyday." By keeping the meanings of these terms in mind, most people find it extremely difficult to confuse them.

By being aware of the difference between the two terms, people may find themselves noticing them used incorrectly more often, especially in grocery stores, which are notorious for curious grammatical errors. Many people, including the highly educated, don't always think out the words and phrases they use, so this common mix-up may be found in newspapers and even books, despite the fact that these publications are routinely edited by a team of people to catch such errors.

Incidentally, the word "everyday" appears to date back to the early 1600s, when it was used to describe informal clothing, differentiating such clothing from formal clothes worn to church and major events. The sense of "ordinary" emerged around 150 years later, while "everywhen" and "everyhow" also experienced a brief period of popularity in the 1800s, but never caught on.

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Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a Language & Humanities researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By amypollick — On Aug 28, 2012

@anon287982: "Do" is a verb. "I am going to do housework today." "Do your homework."

"Due," on the other hand, is an adjective with several meanings. It can mean what you owe on something: "I have $5 due on that bill"; what someone has a right to have: "Everyone is due the protection of the law"; according to accepted notions: "All due respect"; because of: "The game was canceled due to rain"; and there are a few other uses.

The bottom line is: if it's a verb, it's "do." Anything else is "due."

By anon287982 — On Aug 27, 2012

What's the difference between do and due?

By anon238974 — On Jan 06, 2012

Thank you for clearing this up for me. I write a lot of stories for random things and it helps to be more professional when writing by using the correct wording.

To those wondering about the difference between "alot" and "a lot":

"Alot" is not a word; it doesn't exist. It's simply a typo of "a lot".

By anon217375 — On Sep 25, 2011

This really helped me. I do not see how I did not manage to learn this in high school. Well I was very curious about a lot and a lot, but I am glad I know the difference now.

By recapitulate — On Dec 18, 2010

@BambooForest, I wonder this too. That, and the use of a lot and alot. People who learn grammar in school do not always really take it in and use it later. This has especially bothered me since I became a grammar teacher at a bilingual English school in Europe. The concept of trying to make grammar important to students from another country is a difficult thing, especially for these errors that even native speakers make all the time.

By BambooForest — On Dec 16, 2010

The difference between everyday and every day is one which bothers me, to be punny, every day. It is similar to the adding of apostrophes to plurals and commas in the middle of sentences in the sheer volume of people who can't seem to use them properly. I personally didn't take grammar in school; instead I learned this stuff through reading books. How did so many people manage to not learn these things?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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