This question comes up often, and for good reason. You frequently see both anytime and any time used in written sentences, and when spoken, they sound the same. Because the pause that would go between the two-word version is passed over, it’s tough to tell if it should be there in the first place.
So, should you spell anytime as one word or should you separate any and time into two words? As it turns out, either can be correct depending on the context. Put another way, neither is automatically right or wrong. They just mean different things.
To further understand the difference, let’s dig in a little bit more.
Anytime and Any Time: Defining the Distinction
When spelled as a single word, anytime is an adverb that is a shortened version of “at any time.” You could also say that it roughly equates to “whenever.”
It seems like the customer service department is busy anytime I call.
Living in California means we can go to the beach anytime, but for some reason we rarely do.
Anytime Suzanne stops by, she talks about her favorite show.
The two-word version, any time, is a noun phrase that refers to any amount of time.
Ron never has any time for bowling now that he travels for work.
We can fit in a meeting with the marketing team. It won’t take any time at all.
Ted said he would visit the park if there was any time left after his chores were finished.
Now that you’ve reviewed the difference between anytime and any time, choose the correct usage in each sentence.
- I just told Gwen to stop by [anytime / any time] in the afternoon.
- I’ve been trying to get on the workout plan but it seems like there is never [anytime / any time] left in the day after class.
- Why not have the crepes for breakfast? We can make pancakes at home [anytime / any time].
- Jim’s wife gets a headache [anytime / any time] he gets his banjo out of the closet.
- Even if we make it through traffic, I’m not sure there will be [anytime / any time] for dinner before the movie.
Pop Quiz Answers
- I just told Gwen to stop by anytime in the afternoon.
- I’ve been trying to get on the workout plan but it seems like there is never any time left in the day after class.
- Why not have the crepes for breakfast? We can make pancakes at home
- Jim’s wife gets a headache anytime he gets his banjo out of the closet.
- Even if we make it through traffic, I’m not sure there will be any time for dinner before the movie.
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