Aside from being the punchline to a joke about astronaut typists, the spacebar is the most-used key on any standard keyboard. In all honesty, many writers probably forget about this significant key because we use it so frequently.
Even so, some writers don’t use it quite enough. There are many common usage errors that could be remedied with one simple stroke of the spacebar. Let’s look at a few.
Common grammar mistakes you might be making
Everyday vs. Every day
Without the space, everyday is an adjective. It describes something that is common or ordinary.
Kids can do some amazing science experiments with everyday items like baking soda.
When you add the space, every day becomes a phrase that refers to something that happens on a daily basis. In this phrase, every describes day.
He exercises every day to stay fit and healthy.
Note: Be on the lookout for someday vs. some day and apply this same rule there.
Anymore vs. Any more
I used to like this store, but it has changed so much that I don’t recognize it anymore.
With a space, though, it becomes a phrase that refers to quantity. Any is classified as a determiner, a part of speech that introduces a noun. Any refers to an indefinite quantity.
Do you want any more salad with your dinner?
Sometime vs. Some time
This is another case of an adverb versus a determiner/noun phrase. Sometime is an adverb that means “at an unspecified time.”
I hope to see you sometime soon!
Some time, on the other hand, is another example of a determiner introducing a noun. It refers to an undetermined amount of time.
I can’t give you an answer right now; I need some time to think about it.
Note: As we learned earlier, any is also a determiner, so this same rule applies to anytime vs. any time.
There are a few other common spacebar errors that don’t fall into this same vein. One of my biggest grammar pet peeves is the misuse of apart and a part.
Apart vs. A part
The best way to remember these is that the construction of the words themselves is opposite from their definitions. What do I mean by this? Apart, the unspaced word, means “separate.”
They planted the trees far apart so that they would have room to grow.
If you say that you are apart of a group, it means that you are separate from it. What you really mean is that you are a part of the group. Though the words are separate, the phrase means “one piece.”
She is honored to be a part of such a prestigious institution.
Awhile vs. A while
This last one is a bit tricky, but it’s worth noting. Like anymore and sometime, awhile is an adverb. It means “for a period of time” and is used like any other adverb.
I waited awhile but he still didn’t come.
A while (with a space) is a phrase that means “an undetermined period of time.”
It’s so good to see you! It’s been a while!
The seemingly minor difference here is what confuses people. There are a few tricks you can use to remember the distinction.
1) Substitute another adverb for awhile and see if the sentence still makes sense.
I waited awhile, but he still didn’t come.
I waited anxiously, but he still didn’t come.
2) Substitute the phrase “for a while” for awhile.
I waited for a while, but he still didn’t come.
In any case where another adverb or the phrase “for a while” doesn’t make sense, use the space.
See you in a while!
BONUS: A lot
If you are referring to a large, unmeasured quantity, ALWAYS hit that spacebar after a. Alot is not a word.Everyday or every day? Sometime or some time? These words are a part of our everyday language. We use them every day, but how do we tell them apart? #writing #contentmarketing #grammar Click To Tweet