Two words…or not two words? That is the question.

I’m in the middle of formatting a book for my mom so she can print it on CreateSpace. It’s her second book and she’s very excited about it. I’m not proofreading it (because I suck at proofing) but inevitably when you look at something long enough, you find a few things that need adjusting. Even when you aren’t looking for them.

One of the errors  I think is particularly difficult for a writer to catch in their own work is when you have two words and it should really be one. Heart broken, in tact, and the like, are sneaky errors that someone too close to the story will read right over because they know what’s intended. It’s one of the dangers of using yourself as your primary proofreader.

The grammar checker in Word or Grammarly will usually catch these errors, if you keep your eyes open. However, make sure you study each instance, because no grammar checker will be correct in every situation.

Then there are little ninja words in the English language whose only mission is to trick you into using the wrong one.


Pictured: lurking ninjas.

Everyday vs Every Day

“I wear my everyday jeans during the workweek and my fancy ones on the weekend.”
“I wear jeans every day.”

Don’t be fooled by this one. ‘Everyday’ is an adjective, so it goes before a noun, but something you do on a daily basis is working as an adverb so it’s ‘every day.’


This is not my friend Elizabeth’s everyday look.

Everyone vs Every One

“Everyone hates rabid wombats.”
“Every one must decide if they hate rabid wombats.”

‘Everyone’ means everybody, or all the people in a group. ‘Every one’ emphasizes each individual in a group. In our first example we are assuming all the peoples of the world hate our little water-phobic critters. In the second, we acknowledge that each individual must decide for themselves if rabid wombats are to be hated.


Everyone loves Mickey. Look at that face!

Awhile vs A While

“Go walk awhile.”
“I’m going to walk for a while.”

Tricky little bugger. ‘Awhile’ is an adverb, and you could replace it with another adverb. “Go walk energetically.” ‘A while’ denotes a period of time. Yeah, I know, they both are periods of time, but you use the two-word version when it’s working as a noun. Big clue, if you are using a preposition (for, after, in, etc.) then ‘a while’ is two words.


I haven’t seen a lake loon in a while.

In writing news, I’m ironing out the last little bits of Teatime’s Kindle Scout campaign before I start it up. I’m excited about this one. It’s one of my favorite things I’ve ever written. Still no news on Wyrd House’s KS campaign. Fingers crossed!

I heard that Amazon has hired more folks for the KS program, so it’s good to know they are expanding and moving forward with the program. If you haven’t checked it out, you should. I’ve gotten something like six free books so far from nominating KS books that were selected for publication. A couple of them were awesome reads. Free books! And they are free books that have been selected by publisher and gone through a round of professional editing, so you can expect a certain level of quality from them.

As I mentioned in my last post, my newsletter is live and ready for you to sign up. Just click on the shiny button towards the top right of this blog. You get a free book of my short stories for subscribing. In the newsletter you will find writing news, a free short story, and a book rec. Subscribe now! Everyone’s doing it! It’s been live for a while. Every one of you should check it out! 🙂

About JulianneQJohnson

I am a writer in Indiana who lives with two cats, two ferrets, and one fiance. I enjoy cheap coffee and expensive chocolate.
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