The Grammarphobia Blog

Any way the wind blows

Q: Why do I hear people say “anyways” instead of “anyhow” or even “anyway”? It sounds awfully wrong to my ears! Or is it just me?

A: “Anyways”? No way, at least not in modern times. These days, the acceptable usages are “anyway” and “any way.” Here’s now they work.

It’s one word (“anyway”) if you want the adverb that means in any case or nevertheless: “He slipped but he won the race anyway.”

Otherwise, it’s two words (“any way”): “Is there any way to escape? There doesn’t seem to be any way out.”

Once upon a time, beginning in the 13th century or so, “anyways” and “anywise,” both adverbs meaning in any manner, were common usage. Now they’re considered archaic and nonstandard.

As for why so many people insist on “anyways,” that’s a mystery I can’t solve!

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