Jul 22, 2013

Grammar Hammer: Anyway You Want It*

Confession: I’m a big music nerd. My iPod is a schizophrenic mess of music and I would strongly caution against hitting “shuffle.” You will hear a rad flute solo followed by the Beastie Boys and then probably a power ballad by Journey. Anyway, for this week’s post, I thought I would look at the three adverbs of anyway, anyways, and anyhow.

Anyway: Something being done in any way or manner. Now, you may wonder when to use “anyway” (as one word) or “any way” (as two words). Consider your audience and whether or not the word “anyway” can be replaced with “in any case.” Formal writing may be better served by “in any case.”

Example: My trip to Paris next spring is going to be expensive, but I’m going anyway.

To use “any way” as two words, replace “any way” with “by any means” or “in any manner.”

Example: It’s been ten years since I’ve been to Paris and I’m going any way I can.

Anyways: In my opinion, this isn’t really a word. I hear this in conversation and it usually sets my teeth on edge. I just smile anyway and try to listen to what the person is saying instead of harping on the fact that they just said “anyways.” I know, language evolves and I should just relax. But, it’s a slippery slope. Interchanging anyway and anyways is a gateway drug to the disintegration of your/you’re, they’re/their/there and others. Just my two cents and I will now get off my soapbox.

Anyhow: Interchangeable with “anyway” as a conjunctive adverb. As a simple adverb, “anyhow” refers to something being done in a careless manner. Again, I advise you consider your audience to determine which word is best suited to what you’re trying to express.

* Yes, I realize the correct lyric is “Any way you want it…” but I claim artistic license to suit my own selfish need for a headline.

Have a grammar rule you’d like me to explore? Drop me a line at catherine.spicer@prnewswire.com.

Author Catherine Spicer is a manager of customer content services at PR Newswire.

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