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I constantly see "everyday" being used in cases where the writer really means "every day". For example, here's a sentence from Google's eBooks documentation: "New titles are being added to Google eBooks everyday."

There is even a supermarket chain that has a large sign saying, "Low prices, everyday!"

Could someone, for the record, state the rule on this?

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Honestly, I don't know how these two get so confused. They're pronounced differently, or at least have different stress. I was so happy when a native French speaker asked me the difference, and I could just say "every day" means "chaque jour" and "everyday" means "quotidien". –  Jon Purdy Dec 12 '10 at 7:23
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Excellent comparison, Jon Purdy. Similar words exist in Dutch: "every day" means "elke dag" and "everyday" means "alledaags". –  Wim Leers Dec 12 '10 at 15:20
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@Jon: Lots of words with different pronunciations or stress are spelled the same. Think of the whole group of verb/noun pairs like record (n) and record (v), for example, or present and past tense read. I think it is a spelling issue (which is a different skill from language itself). I think people make this mistake for the same reason people use login or setup as verbs when they mean log in or set up: people recall seeing login and setup, so they figure that this string of words gets combined when written. –  Kosmonaut Dec 12 '10 at 17:13
    
@Kosmonaut: That's fair. Obviously I have a different approach to language than most people, so sometimes I have to take a step back and admit that I really don't get how others actually deal with a particular language issue. –  Jon Purdy Dec 12 '10 at 18:47
    
Non-native speakers have an advantage in such cases, because most likely the similar expression in the second language corresponds to quite different terms in the native language, and secondly because we learn the written language first or at the same time as pronunciation. –  Stein G. Strindhaug Dec 15 '10 at 14:28
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2 Answers 2

"Every day" is a phrase that functions as an adverb, as in:

He does this every day.

"Everyday" is an adjective that means "encountered or used routinely or typically":

These are my everyday clothes.

People sometimes erroneously write "everyday" when they mean "every day", probably because they know they have seen "everyday" before, and don't realize there is a spelling difference between the adverbial phrase and the adjective.

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To this, I will add that there's a simple test for this kind of thing. "He does this every single day." You can insert another word in there. In other words, while the phrase functions as an adverb, it's still a phrase. Doesn't work with compounds: "*These are my everysingleday clothes." And the stress shifts, too, at least in my variety of English: "I wear these pants every dáy" vs "these are my éveryday pants". (Same as with the canonical example, "this is a bláckboard" vs "this is a black bóard".) –  RegDwigнt May 12 '11 at 12:20
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"Everyday" is an adjective meaning commonplace, used all the time (i.e., every day). "The medicine cabinet was filled with everyday remedies like aspirin and Tylenol."

"Every day" means something that happens every single day. "The sun rises in the east every day." That means you can count on that to be true, without exception, every day.

The two should not be confused, although as you note some people do confuse them. Some people also write "your" when they mean "you're" ...

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