There are countless English words with multiple variations.
Some of these words, like toward and towards, are really no different. They are used in the exact same way, just by different audiences. Other words, however, are used in different ways or one variant is universally considered incorrect.
Therefore, in order for your writing to excel, it’s important to know which variations of words are considered standard and which variations are considered nonstandard.
What is the Difference Between Anyway and Anyways?
Today, I want to talk about the differences between anyway vs. anyways, how to use them in a sentence, and which is the correct choice.
After reading this post you shouldn’t ever wonder again, is it anyway or anyways?
When to Use Anyway: Is Anyway a Word?
Anyway is an adverb with a few different meanings.
- In any case; at least.
I’m not sure if we have any wood for a fire; It’s raining outside anyway.
- Nevertheless; Regardless.
It was snowing and the temperature was below freezing, but the game went on anyway.
Anyway is the more common of the two words and educated writers and speakers use it almost exclusively.
When to Use Anyways: Is Anyways a Word?
Anyways is a nonstandard dialect and informal variation of the word anyway. When used, it also functions as an adverb.
- You wouldn’t understand anyways.
- Anyways, it’s time for a new focus.
- Whatever you say. That was a dumb idea anyways.
Anyways is almost universally regarded as being incorrect and not fit for print or publication. And the usage of anyways vs. anyway actually bears this out.
The below chart shows just how widespread the distaste for the nonstandard anyways is.
Anyways is used with such little frequency when compared to anyway that you can barely even see the line leave the zero percent mark.
Anyway vs. Any way: Is Anyway One Word?
With all of this talk of picking anyways or anyway, what about any way (two words)? How do I know when to use anyway or any way?
As discussed above, anyway is an adverb. If we define anyway, it usually means regardless or in any case.
- I told you that that was my fault, and we fixed the problem anyway.
- I’m not sure if I lost it or it was stolen. Anyway, it’s gone now.
Any way (two separate words) is simply the word way modified by the adjective any.
When the words are next to each other, they form a paired adjective and noun with the meaning any particular course, direction, or manner.
- Are you able to help in any way at all?
- Is there any way that you can be on time tonight?
- Some people are willing to win any way necessary.
Some dictionaries will point to an overlap between anyway and any way, stating that both can be used to mean in any way or manner; whatever, but I personally like to keep both uses separate.
Remember the Difference
If you ever forget which word is the correct choice, just remember that the “S” in anyways can stand for “slang.” And if you are writing for a professional audience or for publication, slang words are not appropriate.
The two words anyway and anyways are both adverbs and are used in the same way, but anyways is widely considered incorrect and is not standard English usage.
Anyway is the correct word choice.
Anyways is a colloquial variant of the word anyway. It is almost universally considered incorrect.
Any way (two words) means any particular course, direction, or manner.