‘Everyday’ means ordinary, ‘every day’ means on each day.
This is BBC Learning English. Now, as you’ve probably worked out by now, the English language can be very confusing. But we at BBC Learning English aim to help you understand English more easily, so let’s look at some of the different types of words that may puzzle you!
One sort of confusing words are homophones, that means two words which sound the same but have different meanings. Here’s a basic example: been past participle of the verb to be (BEEN) and bean the vegetable (BEAN).
Another sort of words are homographs, that means two words which are spelt the same but have different meanings. Here’s an example: row, a way of moving a small boat and row an argument, which are both spelt (ROW).
Now, let’s join Finn and Abigail, who are going to look at a pair of confusing expressions.
Finn: Hello, I’m Finn and you’re listening to Soundalikes from the BBC.
Abigail: And I’m Abigail.
Finn: And this is the programme where we compare two words in the news that sound similar, but today’s Soundalikes are a little bit different.
Abigail: Yes, the first one is actually two words; ‘every day’
Finn: Every. Day, so no problems there I’m sure… People hear that phrase every day!
Abigail: Well quite, yes and the other one is just one word; ‘everyday’
Finn: Everyday? OK so are we confused? I hope not. Let’s have a listen to these two Soundalikes in context.
“Its research found less than a third of thirteen year olds say they read every day…”
“They say the word had emerged from the banking sector to become part of everyday conversation.”
Finn: Now – let’s first of all make that sure no one has a problem with that first one there.
Abigail: No, I’m sure everyone’s used to it. ‘Every day’ the two words ‘every’ and ‘day’
Just one brain cell is capable of holding fleeting memories vital for our everyday life, according to US scientists.
Finn: Yes, so two separate words, ‘every’ and ‘day’ – and here for example we heard that less than a third of 13 year olds read every day. Now let’s have a look at the second word.
Abigail: Yes, it’s not a difficult one, everyone knows it, it’s ‘everyday’, spelled as one word EVERYDAY. All as one word.
Finn: No space in the middle.
Finn: And what does this one mean?
Abigail: Well, the difference here is that it’s just an adjective, and it means really common, daily, usual, just the kind of thing that you would see every day.
Finn: OK, so everyday as an adjective. So here they mentioned “everyday conversation”
Abigail: Yes you can talk about everyday conversation, or everyday needs, or people’s everyday lives.
Finn: OK, so the children we that heard about earlier who didn’t read every day, you could say that reading wasn’t part of their everyday lives.
Abigail: Exactly and everyday lives that would be everyday as one word.
Finn: Well let’s hope that practising English is part of the everyday lives of our listeners.
Abigail: I’m sure it is.
US President Barack Obama has said that one of the perks of working in the White House is being able to see his daughters every day.
So we heard Finn and Abigail talking about the expression every day and the word everyday. Let’s see if you can identify the two different words when used in a sentence. So, the two meanings are: every day, meaning on each day and everyday, meaning normal, ordinary.
Listen to these examples and say which meaning they are.
“Just one brain cell is capable of holding fleeting memories vital for our everyday life, according to US scientists.”
“US President Barack Obama has said that one of the perks of working in the White House is being able to see his daughters every day.”
So, did you get them right?
Number 1 meant ordinary, number 2 meant on each day.
If you got them all right – well done!
Let’s recap the difference between the two. Every day meaning on each day, is two words, and everyday meaning ordinary, normal is one word.
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