You can often tell when someone is tired of talking to you, because they will begin their next sentence with anyway and then make up an excuse to go do something else.
Most English users are familiar with this transition. Anyway is a versatile word that is frequently used in other contexts, as well.
It also happens to be a compound—of the words any and way. If we leave the words separated, do they mean the same thing?
As is the case with most compound words, the situation is not that simple. Any way also has a place in sentences, but it is used in a different way.
What is the Difference Between Anyway and Any way?
In this post, I will compare any way vs. anyway. I will use each spelling in at least one example sentence, so you can see it in context.
Plus, I will also show you a mnemonic device that makes choosing any way or anyway a bit easier.
When to Use Anyway
What does anyway mean? Anyway is an adverb used to express support for something, even if there might be valid reasons not to do so.
A person might know that giving advice to a friend could hurt his feelings, but he gives it anyway because the advice is needed.
Here are more examples,
- Firefighters do not want to die, but they risk their lives anyway to rescue people from burning buildings.
- “I don’t have to go to prom with you if I don’t want to, and anyway, you smell funny,” said Zara.
Anyway is often a transition word between topics, like in these sentences:
- “Anyway, back to the topic at hand,” said the distracted history teacher.
- “Anyway, mom, I have to go now,” said Kelly as she tried to end the phone call.
See also anyway vs. anyways.
When to Use Any way
What does any way mean? The two-word any way is not a valid substitute for the adverb anyway. That said, any way does appear as two words in various sentences.
- Get some sunshine any way you can this week, because next week will be cloudy with rain showers.
Here, way means method, and any is an adjective that refers to a total lack of specificity. They make sense in context, but they are clearly not a substitute for the adverb anyway.
Trick to Remember the Difference
The important difference between these terms is the role they play in a sentence. They are different parts of speech:
- Anyway is an adverb.
- Any way is a phrase that contains an adjective and a noun.
Anyway vs. Any way Check: To remember that anyway is an adverb, remember that anyway and adverb are both single words that begin with the letter A.
Is it anyway or any way? These words cannot be substituted for each another in any context.
- Anyway is an adverb that expresses support or confirmation; it is frequently used as a way to transition between topics.
- Any way is a noun phrase that refers to whichever unspecified method or route will work.
In summary, use anyway to transition or as an adverb, not any way.