June 2008 Vol. 13 Issue 2
Grammar Trap: anytime vs. any time

Does anyone else struggle with anytime vs. any time the way I do? Should I call you anytime I need help? Or, do I e-mail any time I get stuck?

Although similar to the anyone vs. any one trap, anytime vs. any time is even stickier.

“Anytime” (one word) is an adverb that means “any time whatsoever.”

Use “any time” (two words) when you want to refer to any particular amount of time.

Remember that anytime (one word) is an adverb, so it modifies the verb. So, if you can’t figure out which to use, ask yourself, “When?” If you can answer “anytime,” then use one word.

Example: You can call me anytime.

When can you call? Anytime. So, anytime is an adverb, and one word will do.

Example: Did you call me any time last week?

When did you call? Not anytime, but last week, so use two words here.

Remember, you can e-mail your Grammar Trap ideas to me anytime. There isn’t any time that I’ll get upset.

Kevin Leigh Smith, kevlsmith@purdue.edu

Do you have a Grammar Trap idea? Do you want On Target to cover a topic that interests you? E-mail your ideas to Kevin Leigh Smith.