English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Is it "any time" or "anytime" or are those two things different?

share|improve this question
Can you give a context where you've seen those two? Otherwise, what did a dictionary say? or google for them? – Mitch Jun 1 '12 at 12:57
up vote 9 down vote accepted

One may write

Call me anytime

Call me any time

Call me at any time

but not

*Call me at anytime

because anytime is used as an adverb and not a noun.

share|improve this answer
+1. It's still not clear. What is anytime anyway? preposition? Adjective adverb? pronoun? What? – Jim Thio Jun 1 '12 at 8:12
Why not? and Why so? – Jim Thio Jun 1 '12 at 8:13
@Jim: have you checked a dictionary? What did it say? – RegDwigнt Jun 1 '12 at 13:40
So anytime is an adverb and "any time" is an adverb phrase. Am I correct here? They are used interchangeably. Why call me at anytime is wrong? – Jim Thio Jun 2 '12 at 14:24
@JimThio In “Call me any time”, your any time is an NP being used adverbially. You know it is an NP because any is a determiner. – tchrist Aug 26 '13 at 19:17

Here is the explanation: "At" is a preposition, so it must be followed by a noun. The noun in the example is "time." "Any" is an adjective modifying the noun "time." It's like "Call me at four o'clock. Call me at night. Call me at any hour of the day or night." But "anytime" is an adverb, like "anyhow" or "anyway." It's like "Call me early" or "Call me occasionally." So why did the answer indicate that "Call me any time" is also acceptable? Because using "anytime" is more informal. The word does not even appear in the Webster's New World Dictionary of 1988. However, it does appear in the online dictionary (dictionary.reference.com). Evidently, the use of "anytime" has become more acceptable.

share|improve this answer
Call me at once? – Edwin Ashworth Aug 30 '15 at 14:54

protected by tchrist Aug 30 '15 at 12:36

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site (the association bonus does not count).

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.