When I was a reporter for a small daily newspaper back in the late 90s, I had an editor whose biggest pet peeve was the misuse of the word “everyday.” His peeve has followed me into my professional life, and I cringe a little every time I see it being used improperly.
Everyday, the single word, is an adjective describing something that happens daily (an everyday occurrence), or is common or usual. For example:
Because I was going to be doing messy work, I wore my everyday clothes instead of my work clothes.
Many people use the word everyday when they mean to use “every day”. When the two words are used separately, they are synonymous with “each day.”
I eat peanut butter for lunch every day.
Mistakes involving the use of the word everyday are common. Even famous musicians are guilty! Take Elvis Costello and his 1983 hit Everyday I Write the Book–it’s right there in the title:
And I’m giving you a longing look
Everyday, everyday, everyday I write the book
Of course, Mr. Costello meant to say “Every day I write the book.” But the mistake is forever immortalized.
Going back a little further, we have the 1958 hit Everyday by Buddy Holly making the very same error:
Everyday, it’s a gettin’ closer,
Goin’ faster than a roller coaster,
Love like yours will surely come my way
As in the previous example, we’re talking about something that’s happening each day, not describing something that’s ordinary or common. When is it a-gettin’ closer? Every Day.
Keep this difference in mind, and stop making this simple error an everyday occurrence!