Tuesday, April 17, 2007

One word or two words?

What is the difference between using "every day" and "everyday"; "can not" and "cannot"; "never mind" and "nevermind"; "alright" and "all right"; and so on?


Pat said...

Everyday is an adjective, as in these sentences:

Use everyday language to write your essay.

We're your everyday news source.

In the phrase "every day," every is an adjective and day is a noun. Here are a few examples:

My mom calls me every day.

He writes a little in his journal every day.

Thanks for including alright in your question, which means the same thing as all right. What I wrote you before was incorrect, I have learned from reading Grammar Girl. Alright is as correct as altogether, almighty, albeit, always, and so forth.

Nevermind does not appear in my dictionary; it may be added one day, but for now, I would say that you should not make never mind a closed compound. That is, it is not a word like policeman or hometown.

According to my dictionary, cannot is far more common than can not, and the latter should be used only in constructions like this:

He can not only sing well but play the piano also.

Ryan said...

Good post. I've always wondered about cannot and can not.