When I see "every" and "any", I think they have the same meaning but it's not actually so! To be more specific, what's the difference between "everything/anything", "everytime/anytime", "everywhere/anywhere" and things like these...

  • 1
    Consider this post, which extends to the prefixes 'any' and 'every' as well: english.stackexchange.com/questions/121775/…
    – Inazuma
    Commented May 31, 2016 at 12:00
  • 4
    Even if you could see any difference between the two words, that wouldn't necessarily imply you could see every difference. Commented May 31, 2016 at 12:01
  • If I have a plate of cookies, and I say take any cookie, I expect you to choose one. If I say take every cookie, I am offering you all the cookies on the plate. Commented May 31, 2016 at 12:29
  • The biggest difference is that any (and all compounds containing any) is a negative polarity item, and can only occur grammatically in negative contexts. This is not true of every and its compounds. Consider I looked everywhere vs *I looked anywhere, Everyone enjoyed the party vs *Anyone enjoyed the party. Commented May 31, 2016 at 13:39

2 Answers 2


Any chooses one item from a set (or a few)

Every chooses all items from a set.

Consider everywhere vs anywhere, the set is places (from the 'where'). Everywhere means all places in the set. For example "I dropped the brush in the paint bucket and the paint got everywhere" means that the paint is now in all the places or in every place or everywhere. Whereas anywhere means just one place in the set, but we don't know which place for example "I have forgotten where I left the paint bucket, it could be anywhere by now." The paint bucket is only in one place, but we don't know which place, therefore it is in any possible place which means it is anywhere.


"Every" is closer to "all". "Any" does not imply "all", and perhaps only one. "Every" has a more individual connotation (such as individual attention) than "all" (more like a blanket condition).

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