Hey, my fellow authors! Today's tip is partly inspired by one of Word's annoying grammatical errors, and partly by a common writer mistake. So if you make this particular error, don't feel bad! We see this one all the time.
There's a difference in meaning between every day and everyday, and someday and some day.
And the key to figuring out which one you want is often another day or a single day.
Everyday is an adjective, meaning commonplace, ordinary. Every day means something different. Every is modifying "day" to tell the reader that something happens every single day.
So if you can reword it to "every single day" or "every other day," then you need the two words to be separate.
For example: Every day she drinks a cup of coffee in the morning. (Every single day.)
Her everyday routine is to start the day with coffee and yoga. (Her ordinary routine.)
The same thing goes for someday. Someday is a theoretical time in the future. But in some days, some modifies "days" again to tell us that something is an irregular occurrence.
So if you can reword it to some other day(s), you need the two words separate.
For example: Someday, my princess will come. (An unknown future time.)
Some days, I like to sing with the birds. (Occasionally.)
One problem you might run into is that Word is notoriously bad at distinguishing between these usages. It has the same problem with every one and everyone, someone and some one, etc. So if Word is underlining your phrase and telling you you're wrong, use the tips above to check if you're smarter than your computer. (Spoiler alert: you are!)
Maybe someday, programmers will be able to make a word processor that can handle all the strange subtleties of the English language, but until then, we'll keep putting out tips to help you sort things out.
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Every Wednesday and Saturday we bring you an edit tip of the day. Be sure to check out the archives for our popular summer series of SHOW DON'T TELL workshops!