A Follow-Up! “Anytime” and “Any Time”

Margie Wakeman Wells General Leave a Comment

We had a discussion over on FB about this sentence:

…Jump in anytime/any time you like.

“Anytime” means “an indefinite point in time” as in a moment in time.

…You can do that anytime.
…I can meet you anytime tomorrow.

“Any time” means “an indefinite period of time” as in a span of time.

…I don’t have any time today.
…She did not spend any time with us.

Over and above the straightforward definition, however, is the grammar going on in the sentence.

If this word is the subject of the sentence or the object of the preposition, it has to be two words because the grammar calls for a noun. And it doesn’t matter which of the two definitions would fit.

…There is not any time for that today.
…She did not commit to that at any time.

In our sentence above, “you like,” which is really “that you like,” is an adjective clause. An adjective clause has to modify a noun. The noun form is “any time,” two words.

So it has to be

…Jump in any time you like.

Happy punctuating!

Margie

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