The difference between “anyway” and “any way”

When to use anyway and when to use any way?

  • Anyway I can do it.
  • Any way I can do it.

Are these the same?


Anyway is an example of a discourse marker, one of whose functions is “to indicate what speakers think about what they are saying or what others have said“. (Swan, Practical English Usage, p138). Swan groups anyway together with anyhow, at any rate, and in any case, and describes their function as follows:

These four expressions are used (mostly informally) to mean ‘What was
said before doesn’t matter – the main point is as follows’
. Example:
I’m not sure what time I’ll arrive, maybe seven or eight. Anyway, I’ll certainly be
there before eight thirty.

Swan goes on to point out the difference between anyway and in any way:

Note that anyway is not the same as in any way, which means by any
. Example: Can I help you in any way?

By these principles the discourse marker anyway in Anyway I can do it! implies some prior statement. For example: I’m not sure if I’ll have time on Friday or Saturday. Anyway I can do it.

The second statement Any way I can do it has the noun way preceded by the determiner any, and implies some continuation. For example. Any way I can do it I will. Or more likely: I will do it in any way I can.

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