2

Do you notice any difference in these sentences' meanings?

I want to be able to look at it every time I look at my phone.

and

I want to be able to look at it any time I look at my phone.

  • 1
    They boil down to the same requirement, but there's a stronger desire connoted by the first. That's the one more likely to need an exclamation mark. – Edwin Ashworth Oct 10 '14 at 19:25
4

Context has a lot to do with how 'every' and 'any' will be understood, but essentially 'every' means all the instances and 'any' means one of the instances.

"I rarely have access to WiFi and don't want to use up my data so I saved your picture to my phone. I want to be able to look at it any time I look at my phone."

"You are so darn cute that I saved your picture to my phone and made it my wallpaper. I want to be able to look at it every time I look at my phone."

In the first example 'any' refers to one of many instances in which I examine my phone. In the second example 'every' refers to all of the instances in which I look at my phone. The context of both just makes the reference little more evident.

1

Statistically speaking,

At all times = an empirical blanket to cover all occurrences, guaranteeing that all occurrences conform to the stated conditions.

Every time = An iterative consideration of each occurrence, to cover all occurrences, to perform a 100% sampling, expecting each sample to conform to stated conditions.

Any time = a random and not 100% sampling of all possible occurrences, such that every sample picked is expected 100% likelihood to conform to the stated conditions.

e.g., Discovering if all employees are in compliance with a stated condition.

  • Blanket cover over all employees. Notice the verb and noun are in plural:

    Do all employees have company cell phones?

  • 100% sample of individuals, hence singular action of verb on singular noun:

    Does each employee have a company cell phone?
    Does every employee have a company cell phone?

  • Random sampling for singular occurrences:

    Does any employee have a company cell phone?

1

Reserve "any time" for those situations where you always have a choice, but do not always exercise it. Use "every time" for those situations where you don't even have that choice:

  • I want to be able to look at it any time I look at my phone (the data is availabe in a menu or an app somewhere, but I can get to it easily).

... vs.

  • I want to see it every time I look at my phone (it's right there on the screen and I can't use my phone without looking at it).
1

In the above sentences, the difference is more one of intent than basic meaning.

I want to be able to look at it every time I look at my phone.

implies that I would intend to "look at it" (almost) every time I look at my phone. From a practical standpoint, that would mean that it should be convenient to "look at it" without a lot of button pushes, etc.

On the other hand,

I want to be able to look at it any time I look at my phone.

suggests that you want it to be possible to "look at it" at any time, but does not necessarily imply that to do so should be exceptionally quick and easy.

0

There is a difference. "every time I look at my phone" means that you really want to look at it every time. "any time I look at my phone" means you want it always available, to look at whenever you want.

Note that you cannot as easily say "I saw it any time I looked at my phone": Either you saw it every time, or you didn't.

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