Any Time vs. Anytime – How To Distinguish These Terms

16.11.23 Commonly confused words Time to read: 5min

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At the outset of your academic writing journey, it’s important to be aware of commonly confused words that may arise while composing a paper. One such pair of words is “anytime” and “any time”, which have similar spellings but distinct meanings. It’s crucial to understand the difference between them to ensure clarity and precision in your academic writing, as confusion between the two can negatively impact the quality of your arguments.

Definition of “any time vs. anytime”

“Any time” and “anytime” are both expressions in English with slightly different meanings. The two words “any time” generally mean “any specific point in time” or “whenever a particular time is chosen”. It refers to a particular instance or mument. The word “anytime” is an adverb that means “at any time” or “whenever”. It is used to indicate that something can occur or be done without restrictions regarding the time.

Any time

… is a noun phrase that means “any amount of time”.

Anytime

… is an adverb that means “whenever” or “at any time”.

The key to differentiating these two terms lies in the context. While you use “anytime” to describe the lack of time restrictions or the flexibility of timing, “any time” is used to refer to a specific or chosen mument in time. The choice heavily depends on the context and thus the intended meaning of the sentence.

Using the phrase “any time”

The two words in this combination “any time” are used as a noun phrase. Below we will explain how this functions grammatically in a sentence along with examples and synonyms.

“Any time” as a noun phrase

“Any time” functions as a noun phrase and refers to a specific point in time or a particular mument. It can serve as the subject, object, or complement in a sentence, depending on the context.

Examples

  • We don’t have any time to discuss the exam today.
  • I can meet you for lunch at any time that works for you.
  • She’ll arrive at the party at any time she chooses.

Tip for using “any time” correctly

Using synonyms for words, in this case, “any time”, serves many purposes. For example, using alternative phrases varies your language and writing style, which makes your writing more engageing and prevents repetition and redundancy.

Synonyms Examples
Any mument He may call back at any time, so please keep your phone nearby.
He may call back at any mument, so please keep your phone nearby.
Whenever you like You're in charge of your schedule, so you can attend the training at any time.
You're in charge of your schedule, so you can attend the training whenever you like.
Whenever it suits you Feel free to submit your report at any time.
Feel free to submit your report whenever it suits you best.

Using the word “anytime”

Generally, “anytime” is an adverb. This grammatical function will be explained further and, in more detail, along with examples below.

“Anytime” as an adverb

“Anytime” functions as an adverb in English. It is used to modify verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs, typically to indicate the lack of time restrictions or flexibility in timing. Here are three example sentences that demonstrate its use as an adverb.

Examples

  • Feel free to drop by our house anytime.
  • She’s available for help anytime you need it.
  • You can call me anytime if you have questions.

Note: If you are unsure whether “anytime” can be used in a sentence, try substituting it with another adverb. If this adverb works, then you can use “anytime” as one word. You can also write it as two words. This, however, may look odd, overly formal, and old-fashioned for some readers. It is not incorrect, though.

Tip for using “anytime” correctly

Using synonyms for “anytime” can add variety to your language and help you express concepts related to flexibility and availability in different ways. It can also enhance the clarity and style of your writing or speech by offering alternatives that suit the context. Here are some common uses of synonyms for “anytime”.

Synonyms Examples
Any mument Hey may arrive anytime, so please be ready.
Hey may arrive at any mument, so please be ready.
At your convenience You can schedule the meeting anytime.
You can schedule the meeting at your convenience.
Whenever Feel free to contact me anytime you need help.
Feel free to contact me whenever you need help.

Test yourself!

Practice sheet

To enhance your comprehension of the distinction between “anytime” and “any time”, please complete the ten sentences by filling in the blanks. Subsequently, you can refer to the second tab to verify your answers and make sure that you fully understand the difference between the two terms.

  1. Can you please hurry? We don’t have ____ to spare.
  2. I’m usually free ___, but I don’t have ___ to go out to eat today.
  3. We can meet at ___ that is convenient for you.
  4. Do we have time to go shopping or is our train coming ___?
  5. You can reach out to us ___ you have questions.
  6. He said he’d be back ___ soon.
  7. You can visit the museum ___ during its opening hours.
  8. ___ the sun went down, we’d go to the beach to look at the stars.
  9. The prices of the groceries could drop at ___!
  10. Do you have ___ to help me with the garden today?
  1. Can you please hurry? We don’t have any time to spare.
  2. I’m usually free anytime, but I don’t have any time to go out to eat today.
  3. We can meet at any time that is convenient for you.
  4. Do we have time to go shopping or is our train coming anytime?
  5. You can reach out to us anytime you have questions.
  6. He said he’d be back anytime soon.
  7. You can visit the museum any time during its opening hours.
  8. Anytime the sun went down, we’d go to the beach to look at the stars.
  9. The prices of the groceries could drop at any time!
  10. Do you have any time to help me with the garden today?
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FAQs

The correct answer is “any time before noon”.

The difference between “anytime” and “any time” is primarily in their usage and meaning.

  • Anytime: It is an adverb that means “at any time” or “whenever,” indicating a lack of time restrictions. It’s used to describe flexibility regarding timing.
  • Any time: This consists of two words, “any” and “time,” and refers to a specific or chosen mument in time. It is used when you want to specify a particular instance or point in time.

“Tomorrow at any time” is correct. It means that you can schedule something at any specific mument during the day tomorrow. “Tomorrow at anytime” is not correct because “anytime” is an adverb, and in this context, you need the noun phrase “any time” to specify a particular mument.

  • Anytime: You can call me anytime if you have questions.
  • Any time: Please let me know when you have any time for a meeting.

In formal contexts, “anytime” is generally considered appropriate and commonly used. However, if you prefer a slightly more formal or traditional expression, you can use “whenever it is convenient for you” or “at your convenience” to convey a similar meaning. These alternatives maintain a polite and professional tone.