One Word or Two?

Some words are tricky because they sound the same in speaking, but they could be spelled as one word or two. For example, is it “alright” or “all right”… “awhile” or “a while”… “anytime” or “any time”? Here’s a cheat sheet for you of a few of these tricky words! 🙂

ALLOT (one word) = assign, distribute [We need to allot one hour for the presentation.]

A LOT (two words) = a considerable quantity [I have a lot of chocolate hidden in my bottom drawer.]

* NOTE: alot is not a word, neither is awholelot or anawfullot. 😉

ALREADY (one word) = previously [We already donated money to the fake cause before it was discovered.]

ALL READY (two words) = everyone is ready [“Are you all ready for the party to start?”]

ALRIGHT (one word) = okay, acceptable [“It’s alright with me if you stop by later.”]

ALL RIGHT (two words) = entirely, completely right [“That was a terrible fall! Are you all right?”]

ANYMORE (one word) = any longer, now, still [My elderly uncle doesn’t travel anymore.]

ANY MORE (two words) = something additional or further (refers to quantities) [I don’t want any more broccoli!]

ANYONE (one word) = any person (always refers to people) [It’s so simple that anyone could do it.]

ANY ONE (two words) = a specific person or thing, usually “of” follows it [Any one of my brothers could help out.]

ANYTIME (one word) = any time whatsoever [“Call me anytime.”]

ANY TIME (two words) = a particular amount of time [“Did you call me any time yesterday?”]

AWHILE (one word) = an adverb; for a short period of time [“I know we’ll see whales here. Let’s wait awhile.”]

A WHILE (two words) = a noun; a period of time [It’s been a while since we’ve gone sailing.]

* TIP: Here’s how to tell which word to use—substitute “slowly” or “quietly” in place. If the substitute adverb sounds fine, then use awhile (one word).

Let’s wait quietly. (It works, so use one word.) = Let’s wait awhile.
Let’s wait for quietly. (It doesn’t work, so use two words.) = Let’s wait for a while.
It’s been quietly since we’ve gone sailing. (It doesn’t work, so use two words.) It’s been a while since we’ve gone sailing.

EVERYDAY (one word) = daily, routinely, ordinarily [I take my vitamins everyday unless I’m traveling.]

EVERY DAY (two words) = each day [I take my vitamins every day, no matter what.]

EVERYONE (one word) = every person, everybody [Tell everyone on the team to wear their new jerseys tomorrow.]

EVERY ONE (two words) = each individual person or item [Every one of the jerseys has a different number on it.]

FACEUP/FACEDOWN (one word) = with the face up or the face down [He was lying faceup, but she was lying facedown.]

FACE UP/FACE DOWN (two words) = deal with or confront something or someone [I had to face up to my fears. No one wanted to face down the school bully because he always won.]

NEVER MIND = Always two words

SETUP (one word) = configuration, assembly, arrangement [The setup of the movie equipment took all day.]

SET UP (two words) = to place, to assemble, to bring about [They set up a statue in the center of the park.]

SOMEDAY (one word) = at a future, indefinite time [Someday I’ll buy a house. I’ll start a diet someday.]

SOME DAY (two words) = a specific day that is unknown or unspecified [I will buy a house some day after the new year when I get my bonus. I’m going to see the doctor some day next month.]

SOMETIME (one word) = at some point, at an unspecified time [I’ll read that book sometime. Give me a call sometime.]

SOME TIME (two words) = a long period of time [I have been working on my novel for some time. For some time, humans have benefited from technology.]

Savvy Writer Tip:

Speaking and writing are two different things. Some words sound exactly the same but have completely different meanings when written as one word or two. Savvy writers use the correct spelling and definition of every one of these words! 🙂

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