Wanna have your mind blown?
Some copywriters intentionally add grammatical errors to their copy.
I know. But it’s true.
They believe that snafus catch attention and make the writer seem more relatable. (“Hey, this guy makes mistakes, just like me!”)
Now, I’m all for relatability with your copy but I prefer a bit more professionalism, m’self. There are better ways to catch your audience’s attention than throwing in a deliberate typo, IMHO.
Plus, your writing is a reflection of your business. When it’s grammatically correct, it shows your eye for detail — which always gives a good impression, no matter your industry.
Bottom line: a spoonful of good grammar never hurt nobody!
In today’s post, I’m breaking down 8 common writing errors involving the words “any” and “all.”
The mistakes fall into a few different categories, which I’ll get into below.
For your peace of mind, these aren’t just my opinions. I’ve fact-checked each example to make sure I’m giving you the most up-to-date grammar rules out there.
And for your reading pleasure, I’m using Harry Potter references to show the grammar rules in action. Because my business has been seriously lacking on the “wizardry” front as of late.
Two words, two different meanings
All together vs. altogether
All together: collectively // Harry, Ron, and Hermione snuck into the Ministry of Magic all together.
Altogether: entirely // The trio was altogether satisfied with their OWL results, despite their lack of studying.
A great way to remember this rule is to rearrange your sentence and see if it still makes sense. “All together” will sound okay if you split up the two words; “altogether” will not.
Harry, Ron, and Hermione all snuck into the Ministry of Magic together. (Still makes sense.)
The trio all was together satisfied with their OWL results, despite their lack of studying. (…not so much.)
All ready vs. already
All ready: prepared // I’m all ready to knock Malfoy off his broom in tomorrow’s quidditch match.
Already: prior to a specified time // I can’t believe Harry’s bleeding already! We only got to Hogwarts fifteen minutes ago.
Any more vs. anymore
Any more: describes a finite quantity of something // Hermione doesn’t need to do any more research; she’s already combed through the restricted section twice.
Anymore: at present, to any further extent // Winky isn’t allowed in the cellars anymore, after her butterbeer guzzling got out of control.
In the two-word format, “any” is actually a qualifier for “more.” You could remove “any” from the phrase and the sentence would still make sense. It won’t make sense when the one-word version should be used.
Hermione doesn’t need to do more research. (Makes sense!)
Winky isn’t allowed in the cellars more. (Nope.)
Two words, one shared meaning
Any time vs. anytime
“Any time” and “anytime” are largely interchangeable, with two big caveats where two words MUST be used…
When “at” is involved // I can meet Hagrid for rock cakes at any time tomorrow.
When you are specifically referring to an amount of time // Hermione, do you have any time to help me with Flitwick’s Charms essay?
Apart from those two situations, either the one- or two-word version will be correct. (Though “any time” is more commonly accepted. To play it safe, just go with the two-word version!)
I can meet you at Madam Puddifoot’s Tea Shop any time today. // I can meet you at Madam Puddifoot’s Tea Shop anytime today.
Any time I hear the word “umbridge,” I get a strange urge to jinx something. // Anytime I hear the word “umbridge,” I get a strange urge to jinx something.
Two words, one kinda shared meaning…but also kinda not
All right vs. alright
If you want to get a bunch of word nerds into a heated argument, THIS is the way to do it.
One camp says “all right” is the only correct option and “alright” is slang.
All right: correct, okay, healthy
Is everything all right with Tonks? She’s looking really tired and her hair’s gone mousy brown.
The other camp believes “all right” and “alright” have evolved to have two separate meanings.
All right: completely correct
Surprisingly, Neville’s answers on the Herbology exam were all right.
Malfoy’s insults as of late were just alright; his mind was clearly elsewhere.
In this sentence, alright denotes a level of okay-ness.
My personal take? If you feel like using “alright” in a blog post or Instagram caption, that’s alright with me. It’s becoming more and more common and I’m a sucker for conversational copy, anyway. But if you’re writing a journal article or a term paper, go with the two-word version, to be safe.
Any way vs. anyway vs. anyways
Any way: any manner, by any means
Molly supports her family any way she can — even if that means hosting Fleur as a houseguest while Bill’s away on business.
Anyway: regardless, in any case
Ron shouldn’t have eaten Harry’s box of chocolate cauldrons, but they were delicious so he did it anyway.
“Anyways” is technically incorrect. Though, like “alright,” you can usually get away with it in informal or conversational copy.
Two words, one not technically a word
After all vs. afterall
“After all” is ALWAYS two words. “Afterall” isn’t technically correct, though it’s often used.
After all: all things considered, despite earlier problems
I guess saving Buckbeak’s life wasn’t so complicated after all. (…Said no one ever.)
At the end of the day, it’s important to look professional. But don’t sweat these rules too much — you’ll drive yourself crazy being grammar-obsessed.
If you slip up, it’s not the end of the world. We all do it.
Plus, you can always claim you were following the lead of professional copywriters and using the mistake to get attention. 😉
join the convo
Do you focus on grammar or do you let spell checkers handle it for you?
What’s your grammar Achilles’ heel — the one that always trips you up?
Which Harry Potter character is your all-time fave? Molly Weasley’s #1 fan over here!