The difference between anyway, anyways, and any way

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Almost all English language speakers are familiar with these transition words. But how many of you know the subtle differences between the words "anyway," "anyways," and "any way"? Don't worry! It's not tricky to learn the correct use of these words.

"Anyway" is a versatile phrase that stands for: 

  • Anyhow
  • Regardless
  • In any manner.

"Anyways" conveys the same meaning but isn't appropriate for the same audience. And "any way"—a combination of two words—is a compound word with a distinct meaning.

Are you still wondering about their correct applications? Keep reading to discover the elaborate definitions of these phrases, when to use them, and some quick tips to help you remember their usage. With some practice, you'll be using these transition words like a pro in no time.

What does "anyway" mean?

"Anyway" is an adverb that is appropriate for formal writing. When used in a sentence, it disregards the statement in the previous clause.

According to the fine folks at Merriam-Webster, "anyway" can also mean "as an additional consideration or thought." 

So, in modern English, you can use "anyway" to show the consequence of something that happened, regardless of what came before. 

For example:

  • I've had a long day today but I went to my friend's party anyway.

Usually, the word "anyway" is used in place of "nevertheless," "regardless," "nonetheless," "in one way or another," "in either way," or "in any way." 

When to use "anyway"?

You can use it in your formal texts as an adverb to highlight the final result; instead of explaining what and why you did something to reach that goal. 

Here are some examples to understand the use of "anyway":

  • I'm not feeling well, but I'll try to keep going anyway.
  • Firefighters don't want to die, but they save people from danger anyway.
  • Melissa said she didn't want to go to the picnic but went anyway. 
  • I'm unsure about the correct answer. Anyway, I will submit it.

Again, this word can also be used as a transition word in your writing topics. 

For example:

  • "Anyway, let's get back to the main story," said the English teacher.
  • Anyway, I'm getting late, so I have to leave now.
  • My mum told me not to go to the party. Anyway, I got permission from my dad.

What does "anyways" mean?

"Anyways" is an informal and non-standard form of "anyway." However, you can use the word as an adverb to modify the verb in a sentence. 

In old and Middle English, it was common to end an adverb with 's.' British English still upholds the rule. So, when you write in British English, using "anyways" instead of "anyway" will be more appropriate. 

The word "anyways" is the most noticeable in colloquial speech or informal writing. You can use this phrase in the same manner as "anyway," meaning it also stands as a synonym for "nonetheless," "regardless," "anyway," or "beside."

Are you still confused between "anyway" and "anyways"? Remember that both adverbs indicate the same meaning, but "anyway" is more suitable for formal settings, and "anyways" is for informal writing.

Besides, "anyways" refers to transitioning to a new topic or continuing the previous discussion after interruption. 

For example:

  • She's always running late anyways, so I'm not surprised she missed the train.

You can use it dismissively or sarcastically when transitioning from one topic to another. Essentially, you can signal a shift in the conversation by downplaying the significance of the previous topic with a casual "Anyways..."

For example: 

  • I ran this morning, and now my legs are killing me. Anyways, have you heard about the new Italian restaurant that opened up down the street?

When to use "anyways"?

Since it's an informal word, you can use "anyways" freely in casual writing. When we communicate with our friends or classmates, we use this phrase as it makes the sentence sound friendly. 

Some grammar sticklers may argue that "anyways" is not a proper word, as it is often seen as a non-standard variation of the more widely accepted "anyway." However, language is a dynamic and ever-evolving entity, and many linguistic experts recognize "anyways" as a legitimate and colloquial form.

However, learn about the institutional guidelines before using the word in academic education content writing

Here are examples of when you should use "anyways" in your writing:

  • There was no point in explaining the reasons. You wouldn't understand anyways.
  • No matter how hard we try, we can't win. Anyways, we shouldn't be sad about it.
  • Anyways, we have to leave early. So, get ready by 8 in the morning.

What does "any way" mean?

"Any way" is a phrase of two different words, which refers to a possible method or means of achieving something. You can replace the phrase with "by any means" or "in any manner" in a sentence depending on the context.

For instance, consider the following sentence: 

  • I'm ready to help you in any way.

By adding "any way," the speaker emphasizes the various possible means of assistance that they are open to providing.

Moreover, "any way" can signify having multiple options for accomplishing something. 

For instance, if a teacher says to a student, "You can solve this problem any way you like," they indicate that the student has the freedom to choose any method that works best for them.

When to use "any way"?

"Any way" can be used as a compound word in a sentence; however, it won't substitute the adverb "anyway." It combines an adjective (any) and a noun (way). 

For example:

  • I'm open to ideas on decorating this room, so feel free to arrange the furniture any way you think looks best.
  • There's no right way to study for a test, so try breaking up the material and studying any way that helps you retain the information.
  • Terry is happy to work with you on this project in any way you'd like.

The difference between "anyway," "anyways," and "any way" 

Here are the key distinctions between "anyway," "anyways," and "any way" to help you use them with precision:

  • "Anyway" is an adverb that is used to indicate a transition from one topic to another or to mean "in one way or another," "in either way," "regardless," etc.
  • "Anyways" is a colloquial, non-standard variation of "anyway," often used in spoken English to denote the same meaning.
  • "Any way" is a phrase that refers to a possible method or means of achieving something.

Anyway

Anyways

Any Way

Can be used as an adverb

Can be used as an adverb

Can be used as an adjective and noun

Suitable for formal writing like academic and publication

Suitable for informal writing, colloquial speech, and content writing

Suitable for formal writings

Refers to the ultimate consequence of something

Stands for the sudden change from one topic to another

Refers to possible methods of doing something

Here are some more examples of using these phrases to understand the difference:

Anyway

  • I don't like spicy food, but anyway, let's order that curry dish and try something new.
  • Despite feeling nervous, Nina decided to audition for the play anyway.
  • "I can't believe he said that," Ruby exclaimed. "Anyway, let's change the subject."
  • Ava didn't win the race but ran her best time to date. Anyway, she was proud of her progress.

Anyways

  • Anyways, I don't think going out in this storm is a good idea.
  • She's always making excuses anyways, so I don't believe her.
  • I'm not sure if I can make it to the party, but anyways, thanks for inviting me!

Any way

  • I don't care how you get to the hospital; just get there any way you can.
  • Is there any way to fix this broken vase, or do we have to throw it away?
  • Lila's considering applying to several colleges, but she's unsure which one fits her best. Any way you look at it, it's a big decision.
  • We can approach this problem any way we want if we come up with a solution.

So, you can see in the example sentences that there is a subtle difference between these words.

  1. "Anyway" refers to the final consequence by neglecting the fact stated in the first clause. 
  2. "Anyways" refers to the sudden change in the topic of the sentences.
  3. "Any way" is a two-word version of "anyway" that refers to possible ways of doing something.

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Conclusion

These are the differences between "anyway," "anyways," and "any way." We hope that you won't mix them up again.

Remember, "anyway" is the most common and versatile of the three, meaning "in any case" or "regardless." "Anyways" is the informal version of "anyway" and is often used in casual conversation. Finally, "any way" is a two-word phrase that indicates the possibility of different options or choices.

We know that small details like this can make a big difference in how our writing is perceived. So, let's continue to hone our language skills and pay attention to the nuances of words.

We, at Strategically, know the importance of clear and effective communication in content writing. Our team of expert writers can help you produce high-quality content that is free of grammar mistakes and effectively communicates your message. So, if you're looking for a reliable content writing agency, don't hesitate to get in touch.


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