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 May 31 '16 at 12:00
  • 2
    Even if you could see any difference between the two words, that wouldn't necessarily imply you could see every difference. – FumbleFingers May 31 '16 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. – Peter Shor May 31 '16 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. – John Lawler May 31 '16 at 13:39

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).

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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