Which is the correct word – “anyway” or “anyways”? You might be surprised to learn that both words can be correct. However, you need to focus on using these words in the proper context. Using the wrong in your writing can be considered grammatically incorrect. In this post, we’ll discuss the difference between “anyway” vs “anyways” & show you when to use each word.
What’s The Difference
Both “anyway” and “anyways” have the same meaning in the English language. They are very commonly confused just like the words blonde & blonde. But they are used in different situations.
- Formal Option: “Anyway” is the more formal option, and it is typically used in written communication. In formal writing, such as a research paper, you should always use this form.
- Informal Option: “Anyways,” on the other hand, is considered to be more informal and has a casual tone that is used in spoken conversation (colloquial speech). Although “anyways” is widely considered incorrect, it was used frequently in old and middle English. However, just like we learned in our post about the past tense of bring, informal writing should not be used in a business or academic context!
Takeaway: If you want to play it safe go with “anyway”
How To Use Anyway
The word “anyway” is an adverb that means – despite anything to the contrary; nevertheless; in any event (According to Merriam Webster)
Anyway can mean:
- In any case
Here are a few examples of using “anyway” in American and British English:
- Despite the fact that I flunked my math test, I’m going to go out and celebrate anyway.
- I’m not feeling very well today, but I’ll go to work anyway.
- I don’t really want to go to the party, but I’ll go anyway because my friends will be there.
Takeaway: Use anyway in formal writing to mean “nevertheless” or “regardless”.
How To Use Any way
The two-word phrase “any way” does NOT have the same meaning and use case as “anyway”. “Any way” is used to most commonly used to communicate a sense of direction. But just like the words for me vs to me, writers often get it wrong.
- There is no single way to drive to the stadium. You can drive any way you’d like.
In reality, most students and novice writers use the two-word version to help get more words and meet a word count in their assignment. They fail to realize that these two words have a different meaning than “anyway”.
Takeaway: “Anyway” has a different meaning than “any way”.
Review These Examples
Check out these examples of how to use “anyway”, “anyways”, and “any way” in your writing. These examples apply to both American and British English.
- You can play the guitar any way you’d like.
- Don’t worry about me, I won’t be able to make it to dinner anyways.
- I don’t feel like playing soccer, but I’ll go anyway so I don’t let my team down.
Just like we saw in our comparison of monkeys or monkies, writers often confuse words with similar spelling!
Anyways – Is This A Real Word?
“Anyways” is considered a word. It is considered to be the informal version of the word “anyway”. Use some caution before using “anyways” in your writing. It is considered grammatically incorrect in most forms of writing. There are many similar words in the English language like I or Me, and you need to know when to use them.
“Anyways” is most commonly used in:
- Text messages to friends
- Informal conversation
Informal vs Formal Writing
There’s a time and a place for everything – even writing. For any author, it’s important to know the difference between formal and informal writing.
- Formal writing is used when the occasion is serious or important, such as in a job application or an academic paper.
- Informal writing can be used when you’re communicating with friends or family. This type of writing is more relaxed and casual.
Although it doesn’t seem like a big deal…using informal writing styles on a formal writing assignment or business setting can be a big NO NO. Likewise, using overly formal writing when texting your friends can come across as plain weird and unnatural.
FAQs – Anyway or Anyways
In most situations, you should use “anyway”. “Anyways” is not proper grammar and should be avoided in more formal forms of writing.
In formal writing, it is considered grammatically incorrect to say “anyways”. However, it is perfectly fine in informal communication such as texting.
“Anyways” is a word. It is the informal or colloquial variant of the word “anyway”. It is most commonly used in speech or casual written communication
The correct version is “anyway“. In almost all cases, you should use the word “anyway”.
The best way to use “any way” is to communicate a direction. For example, you might say “I need this done any way you can think of” in order to communicate that you are open to suggestions.
In this situation “anyway” should be used. Not “any way”. Only use two words when referring to direction.
The Bottom Line
Now you know the difference between “anyway” and “anyways”. If you’re not sure which word to use, the answer is almost always “anyway”. However, there are a few cases where “anyways” or even “any way” might be the better option. Just remember that using the word anyway is almost always correct and your writing sound more polished and professional.