Everyone, Every Day

Sign on University Avenue, Berkeley, 2014.

Sign on University Avenue, Berkeley, 2014.

There seem to be more and more instances of the adjective “everyday” being used where the adjective+noun (acting together as an adverbial phrase) “every day” should be used.  Everyday means: “Daily, quotidian, commonplace: happening every day.” Every day also means “daily,” but modifies a verb, not a noun.

Every Day vs. Everyday
The bus driver frowns at me every day. (adj. every modifies n. day; “every day” modifies v. frowns.)
It is an everyday occurrence. (adj. everyday modifies n. occurrence.)
Trick: If you can replace it in a sentence with “every night,” it’s two words. (“Everynight” isn’t a word.)

Similarly (as seen in the badly proofed sign pictured), “everyone” and “every one” are used differently. Everyone is a pronoun, meaning “every person.” Every one is an noun phrase, meaning “each,” often followed followed by a prepositional phrase describing “one”:

Every One vs. Everyone
Every one of his passengers dislikes him. (Both every and the prepositional phrase of his passengers act as adjectives describing one.) NB: This sentence is tricky in regard to subject/verb agreement: the root subject is one [singular], so the root predicate, dislikes, is correspondingly singular. Cf. the sentence:
All of his passengers dislike him.  All is plural, and therefore we use the plural verb dislike. One dislikes; all dislike.
Everyone dislikes him. (Everyone is a pronoun and the subject of the sentence, yet as above, uses one (singular) to determine the verb case.)
He is disliked by everyone. (Everyone is still a pronoun, but the object of the preposition by. The prepositional phrase by everyone acts as an adverb describing v. disliked.)

“Prepositional” is really hard to type correctly.

5 thoughts on “Everyone, Every Day

  1. Another, slightly different example of confusion between one- and two-word forms I have seen online a lot recently occurs with login and log in. In this case, the two-word form is a phrasal verb, and the one-word form is a noun or adjective: “Your login (n.) is your email address. Use it to log in (v.) on the login (adj.) page of the website.”

  2. Examples from song lyrics:
    “I am everyday people”—Sly & the Family Stone (adj. modifying n. “people”)
    “Every day, I’m shuffling”—LMFAO (adv. modifying v. “shuffling”)

  3. Pingback: The Walking Dead S05E10 Recap: Them | The Supernatural Fox Sisters

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