Grammar 6 min read

Anytime vs. Any Time: What's the Correct Word to use?

Main Takeaways:

  • Anytime and any time are not always interchangeable, but use any time when you’re unsure which version is correct.
  • Anytime is an adverb or conjunction.
  • Any time is a noun phrase.
  • Use any time, not anytime, after a preposition such as at.
  • Any time refer to “an amount of time.”

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Still confused about anytime vs. any time? We can’t blame you since these two words sound very much the same. But in the battle between anytime vs. any time, which one should you use, and why?

In most situations, the spellings are interchangeable. In this post, let’s explore the difference and proper usage of the adverb “anytime” and the noun phrase “any time.” Learn when you can’t swap one version for the other in this useful grammar guide.

What is the Definition of Anytime?

Anytime is an adverb that means something can happen at any time, regardless of the location or date.

Anytime definition: (adverb) whenever; at any time

Let’s see how the anytime meaning compares to the definition of any time.

Any time definition: (noun phrase) any amount of time; at no particular time

As you can see, the definitions are fairly similar. To make things more confusing, any time isn’t always a noun phrase. Sometimes, it also functions as an adverb. Meanwhile, anytime can also be used as a subordinating conjunction.

(Conjunction) Anytime the sun sets early, we chase fireflies before bed.

It’s usually grammatically correct to use anytime or any time unless the term follows a preposition.

Anytime vs. any time: Since
Since “anytime” is an adverb, you can’t use it to replace the noun phrase “any time” in a sentence. However, since “any time” can also function as an adverb, you can use it to replace “anytime,” but not when “anytime” functions as a conjunction.

Is it Anytime or Any Time?

Jot down the two-word version if you can’t remember which one is correct, as any time is nearly always acceptable. Sure, it’s a bit old-fashioned and formal, but it works in most sentences.

Think of it this way: Any time is acceptable anytime.

When deciding between anytime vs. any time, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Does this word follow a preposition?
  2. Am I discussing an amount of time?
  3. Am I writing for a formal audience?

If you answered yes to any or all of these questions, use any time rather than anytime.

The two-word version is appropriate when your sentence includes a preposition, such as at. Use the one-word version of anytime if you’re skipping the preposition.

You can get breakfast from McBurger Shack at any time.
You can order breakfast from McBurger Shack anytime, day or night.

Any time describes an amount of time, while anytime means whenever.

Schedule your exam online anytime you want.
You can request a proctored final exam at any time, but many students wait until they’ve passed the pretest.

Any time is generally considered more formal than anytime. Consider using any time when writing a professional letter or email. Anytime works well when you’re contacting friends or family.

You might also see people write any-time with a hyphen. Hyphens are never necessary for words like anytime or sometime.

Anytime vs. Any Time When Referencing Periods of Time

Choose the two-word noun phrase any time when mentioning a period of time.

Do you have any time to complete these forms today?
Do you have anytime to finish this project today?

You might respond to the questions above with the one-word adverb. “Sure, I can help anytime today” is grammatically correct. That’s because you’re saying you can help whenever your boss needs you.

How do you use Anytime in a Sentence?

The way you use anytime in a sentence depends on whether you’re using an adverb, conjunction, or noun phrase. As we discussed earlier, anytime is an adverb or conjunction. When you spell any time with two separate words, it’s a noun phrase.

Adverbs often end in -ly, but anytime doesn’t. However, you can figure out if you’re using anytime as an adverb by replacing it with an -ly word. Examples include easily and quickly.

Anytime often appears at the beginning of a sentence when it’s used as a conjunction.

I can make this recipe anytime, even without my cookbook. (Adverb)
Anytime you need me, just shoot me a text. (Conjunction)
Her cat is ready for neck rubs at any time. (Noun Phrase)

Let’s also review some examples using the correct versions of these phrases:

  • At any time
  • Anytime at all
  • Anytime soon
His boss might walk in at any time and catch him playing on Facebook.
“I’m free for another date anytime at all,” said Savanna excitedly.
Anytime soon, I guess,” responded Albert when asked how quickly he needed the expense reports.

What is Anytime Soon?

Anytime soon refers to an event that will take place in the near future. It’s a bit confusing since anytime means whenever, and soon means after a short time. For clarity purposes, you may find it easier to just use one of these words.

Anytime soon,” the meteorologist replied when asked when rain was coming.
I hope my landlord doesn’t stop by anytime soon since my kitchen is a mess.
Keely didn’t want to see her boyfriend anytime soon after the big fight they had.

What is the Difference Between Anytime and Everytime?

Anytime means whenever, while everytime means nearly always. However, everytime is not the preferred spelling, so use every time.

She wins trivia every time we play.
She orders fried pickles everytime we visit our favorite restaurant.

You can often use each time in place of every time.

After reading this guide, we hope you use anytime correctly every time.

Read More: Among vs. Amongst: Their Differences and Proper Usage

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Krista Grace Morris

Krista heads up Marketing and Content Creation here at INK. From Linguistics and History to puns and memes, she's interested in the systems we create to share our ideas with each other.

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