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Anyway vs. Anyways: Which One Should You Use?

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When it comes to the English language, small differences in word usage can make a big impact on how a sentence is interpreted. One such example is the difference between “anyway” and “anyways.” While these two words may seem interchangeable, there are subtle differences in their meanings and usage that can affect the clarity and professionalism of your writing.

Anyway vs. Anyways

Anyway vs. Anyways: Which One Should You Use?

Anyway vs. Anyways: The Basics

Understanding ‘Anyway’

Definition

‘Anyway’ is an adverb used to indicate a continuation of a conversation or story. It can also mean ‘nonetheless’ or ‘regardless’. The word ‘anyway’ is often used to introduce a new topic or to change the subject. It is important to note that ‘anyway’ is a single word and should not be confused with ‘any way’, which is a phrase with a different meaning.

Usage

‘Anyway’ is often used to provide a summary or conclusion to a conversation or story. For example, “I didn’t want to go to the party, but I went anyway.” In this sentence, ‘anyway’ is used to indicate that the speaker went to the party despite not wanting to.

‘Anyway’ can also be used to introduce a new topic or to change the subject. For example, “Anyway, let’s talk about something else.” In this sentence, ‘anyway’ is used to signal a change in the conversation.

It is important to note that ‘anyway’ is an informal word and should be used with care in formal writing. In formal writing, it is often better to use ‘nevertheless’, ‘nonetheless’, or ‘regardless’.

Here are some examples of how ‘anyway’ can be used in a sentence:

  • “I know I shouldn’t eat chocolate, but I ate it anyway.”
  • “I was going to go to the gym, but I decided to stay home and watch TV instead. Anyway, what are you doing tonight?”
  • “I don’t really like this movie, but I’m going to watch it anyway.”

Understanding ‘Anyways’

Definition

‘Anyways’ is an informal adverb that is often used in spoken English. It is considered to be a non-standard variant of the word ‘anyway’. While ‘anyway’ is the more formal and accepted version, ‘anyways’ is commonly used in everyday conversation and informal writing.

Usage

‘Anyways’ is often used to indicate a shift in topic or a change in direction in a conversation. It can also be used to mean ‘in any case’ or ‘regardless’. However, it is important to note that ‘anyways’ is not considered to be grammatically correct in formal writing.

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Here are a few examples of how ‘anyways’ can be used in a sentence:

  • “I don’t really like spicy food, but anyways, what were you saying about the restaurant?”
  • “I know I shouldn’t be eating this cake, but anyways, it’s my birthday.”
  • “I told her not to come, but she came anyways.”

It is important to note that ‘anyways’ is not interchangeable with ‘any way’. ‘Any way’ is a phrase that means ‘by any means’ or ‘in any manner’. It is important to use the correct phrase in the appropriate context.

Here is a table that summarizes the differences between ‘anyway’, ‘anyways’, and ‘any way’:

Word Definition Usage
Anyway Formal adverb meaning ‘in any case’ or ‘regardless’ Used in formal writing and speech
Anyways Informal adverb meaning ‘in any case’ or ‘regardless’ Used in informal writing and speech
Any way Phrase meaning ‘by any means’ or ‘in any manner’ Used to describe a method or manner of doing something

Anyway vs. Anyways: Historical Usage

When it comes to the usage of ‘anyway’ and ‘anyways,’ it is essential to understand their historical usage to determine their current usage.

The word ‘anyway’ has been in use since the 14th century and is derived from the Middle English phrase ‘in any way.’ It is an adverb and is used to mean ‘regardless’ or ‘in any case.’ For example, “I know it’s late, but I’m going to finish this work anyway.”

On the other hand, ‘anyways’ is a relatively new word that emerged in the 19th century as a colloquial variation of ‘anyway.’ It is also used as an adverb and has the same meaning as ‘anyway.’ For example, “I don’t like sushi. Anyways, let’s order pizza instead.”

Although ‘anyways’ is considered informal and is often frowned upon in formal writing, it has been used in literature by renowned authors such as Mark Twain and F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Over time, the use of ‘anyways’ has become more prevalent in spoken English, particularly in North America. However, it is still considered less formal than ‘anyway.’

Anyway vs. Anyways: Regional Differences in Usage

In general, “anyway” is more commonly used in British English, while “anyways” is more commonly used in American English. However, this is not a hard and fast rule, and there are many exceptions to this pattern.

For example, in some parts of the United States, particularly in the South and Midwest, “anyway” is the more common form. In other parts of the country, such as the Northeast, “anyways” is more commonly used.

It’s also worth noting that both “anyway” and “anyways” are more commonly used in spoken English than in written English. In formal writing, it’s generally recommended to use “anyway” rather than “anyways,” as “anyways” is considered more informal.

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Here are a few example sentences to illustrate the regional differences in usage:

  • “Anyway, let’s get back to the topic at hand.” (British English)
  • “Anyways, let’s get back to the topic at hand.” (American English, particularly in the South and Midwest)
  • “I don’t really care either way, anyway.” (British English)
  • “I don’t really care either way, anyways.” (American English, particularly in the Northeast)

Anyway vs. Anyways in Formal and Informal Contexts

In formal writing or speaking, it’s generally best to stick with “anyway” rather than “anyways.” “Anyway” is a more formal and proper way of expressing the same idea. It’s important to remember that in formal contexts, you want to avoid using casual or informal language. Using “anyways” can make you sound unprofessional or uneducated.

On the other hand, “anyways” is more commonly used in informal contexts such as everyday conversations or casual emails. It’s often used as a transition word to move from one topic to another or to signal a change in direction. For example, “Anyways, let’s get back to the topic at hand.” In this context, using “anyway” instead of “anyways” would sound stilted and out of place.

It’s also worth noting that “anyways” is considered a colloquialism, meaning it’s a word or phrase that is used in informal speech but not in formal writing. In contrast, “anyway” is considered standard English.

Here are some additional examples to help illustrate the difference between “anyway” and “anyways” in formal and informal contexts:

  • Formal: “I don’t think we should pursue this idea any further.”
  • Informal: “Anyway, let’s move on to something else.”
  • Formal: “Regardless of the outcome, we need to be prepared.”
  • Informal: “Anyways, we’ll deal with it when it happens.”

Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Mistake 1: Using “Anyways” Instead of “Anyway”

“Anyways” is a nonstandard and informal variation of “anyway.” While it may be used in some dialects, it is not considered standard English. To avoid this mistake, always use “anyway” instead.

Incorrect: Anyways, let’s get back to the topic.
Correct: Anyway, let’s get back to the topic.

Mistake 2: Using “Anyway” When You Mean “Any Way”

“Anyway” and “any way” have different meanings. “Anyway” means “regardless” or “in any case,” while “any way” means “in any manner” or “by any means.” To avoid this mistake, make sure you use the correct phrase for the meaning you intend.

Incorrect: You can do it anyway you want.
Correct: You can do it any way you want.

Mistake 3: Overusing “Anyway”

While “anyway” is a useful word, overusing it can make your writing sound repetitive and unpolished. To avoid this mistake, try using synonyms or rephrasing your sentences to avoid using “anyway” too often.

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Incorrect: Anyway, I went to the store. Anyway, I bought some milk and bread. Anyway, I ran into my neighbor.
Correct: I went to the store and bought some milk and bread. While I was there, I ran into my neighbor.

Expert Tips for Usage

When it comes to using “anyway” and “anyways,” there are a few tips you can follow to ensure you are using the correct word in the right context.

Firstly, it is important to note that “anyways” is considered an informal and colloquial version of “anyway.” Therefore, it is best to avoid using “anyways” in formal writing or professional contexts.

Secondly, “anyway” is typically used to mean “nonetheless” or “regardless.” For example, “I know it’s raining, but I’m going to the beach anyway.” It can also be used to signal the continuation of an interrupted story.

Thirdly, “any way” is an adjective-noun phrase that means “whichever path” or “in any manner.” For example, “You can choose any way you like to get to the park.”

To help clarify the differences between “anyway” and “anyways,” refer to the following table:

Anyway Anyways
Formality Formal Informal
Definition Nonetheless or regardless Informal version of anyway
Usage Use in formal writing and professional contexts Use in casual speech or dialogue

It is important to note that “anyways” is not technically incorrect, but it is not widely accepted in formal writing or professional contexts.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the correct usage: anyway vs. anyways?

The correct usage is “anyway,” not “anyways.” “Anyway” is an adverb that means “in any case” or “nevertheless.” It is a commonly used word in English and is considered proper grammar.

Why is ‘anyways’ not considered a word?

“Anyways” is not considered a word because it is a nonstandard, colloquial form of “anyway.” Although it is often used in informal speech and writing, it is not considered proper grammar in formal writing or academic contexts.

Can ‘anyways’ be used in formal writing?

No, “anyways” should not be used in formal writing. It is considered a nonstandard, colloquial form of “anyway” and is not appropriate for formal or academic writing.

What is the meaning of ‘anyway’?

“Anyway” is an adverb that means “in any case” or “nevertheless.” It is used to indicate that something is true or relevant regardless of other factors or circumstances.

What are some synonyms for ‘anyway’?

Some synonyms for “anyway” include “nevertheless,” “nonetheless,” “regardless,” and “in any event.” These words have similar meanings and can be used interchangeably in many contexts.

Is it grammatically correct to start a sentence with ‘anyway’?

Yes, it is grammatically correct to start a sentence with “anyway.” However, it is important to use proper punctuation and sentence structure to ensure that the sentence is clear and understandable. For example, “Anyway, I don’t think we should go to the party tonight” is a grammatically correct sentence.

Discover more:

The correct usage is \"anyway,\" not \"anyways.\" \"Anyway\" is an adverb that means \"in any case\" or \"nevertheless.\" It is a commonly used word in English and is considered proper grammar.

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\"Anyways\" is not considered a word because it is a nonstandard, colloquial form of \"anyway.\" Although it is often used in informal speech and writing, it is not considered proper grammar in formal writing or academic contexts.

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