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9 Common Compound Word Errors to Avoid

  Compound Word Mistakes

A compound word is simply a word that is formed from two or more other words. There are words that will make you miss if you don't know them well, so we write common compound word errors to avoid.

Typically, the new combination of words creates a new or broader meaning; everyday vs every day, anytime vs any time, awhile vs a while, sometime vs some time, and someday vs some day.

Everyday vs. Every day


Like many compound words, "everyday" and "every day" are typically more confusing in spoken English than in written English. The two word phrase, however, expresses duration or time.

1. Everyday is an adjective we use to describe something that’s seen or used every day. It means "ordinary" or "typical."

  • Everyday chores like shopping and housework.

2. Every day is a phrase that simply means "each day."

  •   They go to the coffee shop every day.

Anytime vs. Any time


This compound word is an example of how the English language has changed.

If you’re going for the meaning "at any time," use the adverb anytime. If you only mean to use the words "any time," keep the words separate.


1. Any time should be written as two words when it is used as an adverbial clause preceded by the word "at."  Examples:

  • The package is due to arrive at any time.
  • Because tensions between the two countries are high, violence could erupt at any time.

    It is also written as a two-word phrase when "any" is used to modify the word "time" in sentences such as:

    • I won’t have any time to work on the project until next week.
    • If you have any time available, I'd love to meet for lunch this week.

    2. Anytime is an adverb meaning "whenever" or "without a doubt." It is only correct when used as an adverb. Examples include: 

    • You can call me anytime.
    • The boxer said that he could defeat his opponent anytime.

    A While vs. Awhile


    It’s easier to understand the difference between a while and awhile.


    1. Awhile means “for a time” and is an adverb, you can replace the word with another adverb if you want to check that you are using the word correctly. Example:

    • The dog waited awhile (or patiently) for his dinner.

    2. A while This is a noun phrase meaning an amount of time.

    • It has been a while (or a month) since I last drank coffee.

    Sometime vs. Some time


    What is the difference between sometime and some time? Don’t worry, the answer is simpler than you might think.


    1. Sometime is another adverb. It’s used to communicate an unknown amount of time or unspecified time in the future.

    • Let’s get together sometime.

    2. Some time (an adjective and a noun) communicate a period of time, usually a long one.

    • It’s been some time since the old friends have spoken.

    Someday vs. Some day


    Someday and some day are easy expressions to confuse because they differ by just one space.


    1. Someday is an adverb and works when describing an indefinite future time. Example:

    • I’d like to see him again someday.

    2. Some day is two words when it refers to a single day, even if that day is unknown or not specified. Is an adjective. Example:

    • I have an appointment some day next month.

    Never mind vs. Nevermind


    Did you know that the meaning of “never mind” is different from the meaning of “nevermind”? If you were unaware that “nevermind” can be spelled with or without a space, it’s understandable.


    1. Nevermind is actually an old-fashioned way of saying "notice" or "pay attention," but used in a negative style:

    • You’ll do well to pay Cobain no nevermind.

    2. Never mind often appears as a mere interjection.

    • Bring me a piece of chocolate cake. Actually, never mind! I’d better stick to my diet.

    A lot vs. Alot

    Both are very easy. Alot is a common misspelling of a lot.

    1. A lot is an idiom, and means "very much."

    • Brian rocks out a lot when he listens to Nevermind.

    All together vs. Altogether


    Altogether different from all together.


    1. Altogether means "completely," "all things considered," or "on the whole."

    • Some of the professor’s lecture is altogether impossible to understand.

    2. All together means "everyone together" or "everything together."

    • We went all together to the party.

    All right vs. Alright

    They both mean the same thing: okay, very well, satisfactory, certainty, or safe.

    1. Alright is informal, which is why you’ll get the red squiggly lines in WordPress or Microsoft Word if you try to use it.

    • Chloe’s test answers were alright.

    2. All right is the only acceptable form in edited writing.

    • Chloe’s test answers were alright.



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