Always vs. All Ways: What’s the Difference?

There are many words that look like combinations of other words. In some cases, these words can be safely separated into their original components. In other cases, it’s better to leave them together.

Always is one word that confuses some writers. Should it be left as one word, or spelled as two words?

Continue reading to find out which way is correct.

What is the Difference Between Always and All Ways?

In this post, I will compare always vs. all ways and explain how to use each one correctly. I will include an example sentence for each, and I will also discuss a simple mnemonic to help you remember if always or all ways is correct.

When to Use Always

always versus all waysWhat does always mean? Always is an adverb that means all the time or also.

For example,

  • I don’t always crave sushi, but when I do, I crave the California sunset roll at Bamboo Sushi.
  • Asher always sings the same obscure R&B deep cuts at karaoke night.
  • If the rain dance doesn’t work, we can always offer a blood sacrifice to the harvest gods instead.
  • As always, the talks could fall apart before a deal is reached. –The Wall Street Journal

When to Use All Ways

Definition of all ways definition of alwaysWhat does all ways mean? All ways is a phrase that refers to every way, where way can mean method, direction, condition, or any of the other myriad uses of that word.

It is a two-word phrase where the adjective all describes the quantity of the plural noun ways, such that each and every one of them is included.

Here are few examples,

  • All ways into the city are blocked by traffic.
  • There are many approaches to woodworking, but all ways will lead to a fine finished product.
  • Is he kind to her, does his presence allow her to invest more deeply in her career than if she were on her own, is she in a good place in all ways besides the financial? –The Washington Post

It is usually a good idea to break up this phrase, or substitute it with something less awkward. To do so aids the reader by minimizing confusion and adding specificity. Notice how the same sentences read much more clearly below:

  • All of the ways into the city are blocked by traffic.
  • There are many approaches to woodworking, but each method will lead to a fine finished product.

Trick to Remember the Difference

Define all ways define alwaysHere is a helpful trick to remember all ways vs. always.

Use the adverb always when describing an event that happens all the time, or when referencing another possibility. Always and adverb are both single words that start with A, so this usage case is an easy one to remember.

You should probably never use the phrase all ways on its own. It is clumsy, and by breaking it up or substituting it with a more specific phrase, you will be less likely to distract your reader.

Summary

Is it all ways or always? These two words are very close in their spelling and in their pronunciation, but their cases do not ever overlap.

  • All ways is an adjective phrase that refers to all the possible methods, directions, or conditions in a given scenario.
  • Always in an adverb that means all the time or also.

All ways is usually not an example of fluid, well-formed writing. Avoid using it if you can.

If you are having trouble deciding whether to choose all ways or always, remember that always and adverb are both single words that begin with the letter A.

By using always in this context, you will avoid confusing your readers, and be well on your way to becoming a stronger writer.

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