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Is It Any Way or Anyway?

Which is Correct: Any Way vs. Anyway

As a content writer, you will often confront words that, separately, have one meaning, but when you put them together, that meaning changes completely. Such is the case for any way vs. anyway (and, to a lesser extent, anyways). Let's take a closer look, shall we?

What's the Difference between Any Way vs Anyway?

There's more than a subtle difference between the adjective-noun phrase any way and the adverb anyway. The first we've just seen, as the former is a combination of an adjective and a noun, and the latter is an adverb. The differences go beyond this, however, as both mean something a bit different.

The phrase, any way, when used correctly in your content, connotes that you (or your subject) will get something done regardless of any obstacles. Here are a few examples:

• The boss told his employees to finish the job any way they wanted, as long as it was done on time and on budget.

• When faced with the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, the President said he would help in any way he could.

• There are several different paths to the waterfall. You can go any way you choose, and all will be a wonderful adventure.

The adverb anyway, on the other hand, is a term used to state that a person will do something or get something done without consideration for other factors involved. You can also use it to change or return to a subject or point out something unusual or interesting. A few examples are below:

• Even though she was tired, Sarah decided to meet her friends at the club anyway.

• "Anyway," Jill said, "I'll be gone next week, so I don't care what happens as long as the house is clean when I get back."

• Robert couldn't take off from work and, anyway, he didn't have the money to go to Mexico.

• So, anyway, how are you doing now that you've moved into your new apartment?

• Although there was a blizzard, the mail carrier delivered the mail anyway.

What about Anyway vs Anyways?

Now that we've seen the subtle (and not so subtle) differences between anyway vs. any way, let's take a look at the more colloquial (but still correct) term anyways. Now, here's the thing; anyways is, and has been for quite some time, a real word and grammatically correct. In other words, it's not just a lazy or incorrect way to use the term anyway, but its own 100% correct word. (And, yes, we realize many individuals and content writers might not believe this to be true.)

The venerated Merriam-Webster dictionary will back us up on this 100%. They inform us that anyways has been in use since the 13th century (more or less) and has been used consistently in the English language for at least the last 100 years. The term has several meanings, but the most common is "in any manner or respect" as well as "to any degree at all." Many content writers use it (correctly) to signal a transition from one topic to another or to return to a topic after an interval of time has passed. Anyways can also be used as a dismissive or even sarcastic term. Here are a few examples of the grammatically correct use of the term anyways:

Anyways, as the tour guide was saying, the bears are hibernating, and that's why we aren't seeing them at the zoo today.

• "Then again," said the librarian with some contempt, "You shouldn't be yelling at the library anyways as it's supposed to be a place for quiet time and reading."

Anyways, the party fund had almost $1000, so they didn't need Bob's money to have a great time.

• Since we're already out anyways, we might as well pick up some pizza for dinner.

• Who does this woman think she is anyways?

Here's an example of a professional journalist using the term anyways very recently:

No one's teaching critical race theory in elementary schools anyways, that's a very academic theory...

— Sara M Moniuszko, USA TODAY, 28 Jan. 2022

Now, yes, your spellcheck software might flag these uses (and some readers might object to them if you use them in your content writing), but all are 100% grammatically correct.

Anyway vs Any Way vs Anyways - All Three are Correct

We think you'll agree that the differences between today's terms and phrases, while subtle, are interesting indeed. Any way you look at it, anyway is an interesting term anyways, are we right? You can use all three in your content writing to make it more interesting and engaging!


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