anytime vs any time

Discussion in 'English Only' started by french4beth, Jul 6, 2006.

  1. french4beth

    french4beth Senior Member

    I'm trying to figure out the actual rule for the above phrases, and I see both "any time" and "anytime" used interchangeably; here it says:
    Here it says:
    According to Strunk/Bartleby, found here,
    Any thoughts?

  2. GenJen54

    GenJen54 Senior Member

    Downright Pleasant, USA
    USA - English
    Hi beth,

    THIS thread might help. It's a similar situation.
  3. river Senior Member

    U.S. English
    I went to the library and found this:

    anytime, adv., = at any time; whenever. Some writers consider this term a CASUALISM, but it is highly convenient and has -- for whatever reason -- gained more widespread acceptance than anymore (in positive contexts) and anyplace. Garner's Modern American Usage
  4. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    In BE, we don't generally have a problem.
    Anytime and anymore are easily avoided:)
  5. MrMoto Senior Member

    Ottawa, Ontario
    Canada, English
    It might be highly convenient not to use the space bar at all, but that doesn't mean that it's a good idea ...
  6. Packard

    Packard Senior Member

    USA, English
    My motto: When in doubt, write around the problem.

    So, if I were undecided in the following sentence:

    Will you be visiting any time/anytime soon?

    I would, instead, write:

    When can I enjoy the pleasure of your company?
  7. nzfauna

    nzfauna Senior Member

    Wellington, New Zealand
    New Zealand, English

    Anytime = whenever; at any time.

    Any time = modifies 'time'.
  8. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod (English Only)

    This was my understanding of the difference, too. I honestly was not aware that it was considered a "casualism" to write "anytime." I would have never thought twice about using it in a formal report or letter. (Perhaps I will now.)

    The difference, as I understand it, could be illustrated by this:

    "Will you have any time to meet with me anytime soon?"

    "I'm sorry I don't have any time today. We can meet anytime tomorrow. Let me know what works best for you."
  9. The book "How To Say It And Write It Correctly NOW" says:
    [ any time ] any time period
    - Do you want any time allotted to you?
    [ anytime ] at any time whatever
    - She went there anytime she wanted to.
  10. tcurrier New Member

    How about in this context ? :

    "Thank you for helping me with the project!"


    "Any time !" or "Anytime!"

  11. beccamutt

    beccamutt Senior Member

    New Jersey, USA
    English - US
    Anytime! (Anytime you want me to help you.)
  12. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    Hello tcurrier, and welcome to the forums:)

    I think the answer will depend on what variety of English you speak. As panj suggested earlier in this thread, British English speakers tend to use "any time" for both meanings.
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2008
  13. Packard

    Packard Senior Member

    USA, English
    What about "anytime, any place"?

    "You want to settle this thing with fists?"

    "Sure. Any time, any place." ("Anytime, any place".)

    Would parallel structure dictate "any time" in this case?
  14. tcurrier New Member

    IMHO, I would think if used in a sentence by itself....

    "Any time !" would be more appropriate ....
  15. Yugami New Member

    I find it ironic that you are trying to make a word (anytime) and defining it with the proper grammar (any time).

    Just use any time...I'm American.
  16. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod (English Only)

  17. Ed_UK New Member

    While I accept that "anytime" does appear in US dictionaries, it is still a non-word in British English. Unfortunately, it seems to just one in a current spate of ficticious or misused words.
    E.g. (Ficticious words commonly used):
    Everytime (The slogan of Wilkinsons, emblazoned on their vehicles)
    Alot (a lot). (You wouldn't say "aheap" or "aload" or "apile")

    Misused words:
    Login vs "log in" (noun vs verb)
    Shutdown vs "shut down" (noun vs verb)
    Walkout vs "walk out" (noun vs verb)
    Everyday vs "every day" (adjective vs noun)

    p.s. I see that even the M-W dictionary resorts to defining "anytime" as "at any time"
  18. Packard

    Packard Senior Member

    USA, English
    I am currently reading an older novel (The Dirty Dozen, c. 1965) and they hyphenate all instances of "every-one". I think conventions change over time.
  19. Ed_UK New Member

    Interesting. I suspect there's also an element of the preferences of the author and of the editor.
    (I read that book about thirty years ago).
  20. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod (English Only)

    No, I think you would find general agreement among AE speakers that "everytime" and "anyday" are non-words. You won't find either in our dictionaries. Neither will you find "alot".

    I think you are missing a distinction we have in American English between "at any time whatever" or "any quantity of time". The first is communicated with "anytime" and the second is communicated with "any time". British English uses "any time" for both meanings.

    The word has been around for nearly a century in American English. ;) Tectonically speaking, I suppose that is recent. It is older than the words "bikini", "radar", and "genocide".
  21. Ed_UK New Member

    Hi, JamesM. Sorry if I implied that "everytime" or "anyday" were accepted words in AE. I was only referring to "anytime." I checked a BE dictionary, which mentioned "anytime" as a US usage. I accept your distinction between 'at any point in time' vs 'for any period in time' (my paraphrasing, I hope I'm not misrepresenting you). Do you think we need that distinction? I ask because I can't think of a context where it wouldn't be clear.

    I'm far more comfortable with the use of both "sometime" and "some time."
  22. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod (English Only)

    I'm not sure it's a vital distinction, but it is a distinction. :) I am not defending its need to exist. I am simply stating that it exists and has existed for several generations in American English. It is long past the point where I would consider it a neologism.

    Any time = "any amount of time"
    Anytime = "at any time whatever"
  23. Charlie Parker

    Charlie Parker Senior Member

    English Canada
    I notice that the Oxford English Dictionary only give any time, two separate words.
  24. Copyright

    Copyright Senior Member

    American English
    The latest Oxford on my phone (Concise, I imagine, although it doesn't say) lists anytime: adverb chiefly N. Amer: variant of any time.
  25. Charlie Parker

    Charlie Parker Senior Member

    English Canada
    Thank you Copyright. That's interesting. On your phone no less.
  26. Copyright

    Copyright Senior Member

    American English
    Not to stray too far off-topic, but after I bought it, I noticed that my desk copies were Editions 8 and 9 and the iPhone version was Edition 11. It's easy (for me) to forget that dictionaries get upgraded like everything else.

    So now, anytime/any time and any place, I can whip out my Oxford, as it were.
  27. iskndarbey Senior Member

    Lima, Perú
    US, English
    Incidentally, the first rule of English language discussions is that whenever somebody points to the fact that a word is not listed in the OED as evidence that it should not be used, that word will in fact invariably be listed in the OED.
  28. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    It's still worth noting that the various Oxford dictionaries tell us that anytime is AE, not BE.
    The strength of the endorsement varies somewhat.
    The full OED doesn't even mention it. But then it begins with "A" and that section is not exactly up-to-date.
    The Advanced Learner's Dictionary says it is North American English.
    Copyright's phone says it is chiefly North American English.

  29. Daozen New Member

    English - Australia

    Isn't it true that, over time, many words evolve from being two words, to being hyphenated, to being a single word? [Bed room, bed-room, bedroom, etc, etc.]

    I believe this may be another case, with (as often happens) the US is leading the charge in the newer form of spelling?

    Just my 2c. And hello everyone.
  30. Copyright

    Copyright Senior Member

    American English
    Welcome to the forum. :)

    I don't know about your evolutionary theory, and I also don't know that it's the Americans leading any particular charge. If anything, it's the Brits who took charge in 2007 and made 16,000 changes in hyphenated words.

    Here's an article on the subject, courtesy of Reuters. It begins: About 16,000 words have succumbed to pressures of the Internet age and lost their hyphens in a new edition of the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary.

    And it mentions this: Researchers examined a corpus of more than 2 billion words, consisting of full sentences that appeared in newspapers, books, Web sites and blogs from 2000 onwards.
    For the most part, the dictionary dropped hyphens from compound nouns, which were unified in a single word (e.g. pigeonhole) or split into two (e.g. test tube).
  31. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod (English Only)

    English is nothing if not inconsistent. :) I doubt we would have this discussion about "anybody/any body", "anywhere/any where", "anything/any thing" or "any one" (well, I take that back - we have had discussions about any-one vs. anyone), although I've read 19th century works where "any body" was distinctly two words.

    Different variants have different spellings and different compound words. I can certainly accept that "anytime" is not standard in British English. What is different about this particular one is that in American English both the compound word and the two separate words exist and are used differently. I wouldn't write "Do you have anytime to get together today to talk about the Wilmington proposal?" I would consider that a mistake in American English. It's actually possible in AE to write "Well, if today doesn't work and tomorrow is not good, do you think you will have any time anytime before the deadline? It's due day after tomorrow." The meanings are that different and they actually have different emphases, in my experience.
  32. lucas-sp Senior Member

    English - Californian
    James, that double usage certainly distinguishes "any time/anytime" from "anywhere," but it's also the case that "any body/anybody" and "any thing/anything" have potentially double meanings:

    Is anybody home?
    vs. The memorial was designed so that it would be easy for any body - regardless of disability - to access.
    or vs. "Hey, Mr. Morgue Attendant, do you care which of these corpses I steal?" "No, just take any body you want."

    I'm going to have some tea. Do you want anything?
    vs. Spiritual enlightenment is much more important than any thing could be.

    I think we see that "any thing" is the most difficult to use, so "anything" seems to predominate more strongly. However, it was pretty easy for me to come up with sentences with "any body," and "any time" is even easier. I think we can rank them on a continuum, from well-defined and distributed double meanings to having one form take over the job of both meanings (anywhere).
  33. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod (English Only)

    That's a good point, lucas-sp. I see now that there are other pairs like "anytime/any time".
  34. Man_from_India Senior Member

    Indian English
    I never really gave it any serious thought. I always thought "anytime" and "any time" are just the same in meaning.
    But now I think I was wrong.
  35. PaulQ

    PaulQ Senior Member

    English - England
    I agree with JamesM, I don't considered it a "casualism" to write "anytime." This seems most helpful to me:
    A test might be to insert (i) at before any and (ii) an adjective after any. If it is separable, then it is two words.

    "Help yourself to the apples at any reasonable time."
    "Help yourself to the apples anytime." (even at 3 a.m. if you want...)
  36. gorm_den_gamle New Member

    I've read quite a few answers and am still not getting the difference. :(

    This is the sentence that actually brought me here:

    The respondents are told at the beginning they are free to not take part at all or stop anytime during the interview process.

    Any comment/s would be appreciated.
  37. Cagey post mod (English Only / Latin)

    English - US
    Welcome to the forum, gorm_den_gamie. :)

    I would use "any time" in that sentence. The respondents can pick a time to stop; they can stop at any time they choose.
  38. gorm_den_gamle New Member

    Thanks so much for your help, Cagey!

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