In this week's edition of "That’s What They Say" English professor Anne Curzan and Weekend Edition host Rina Miller discuss words with split personalities in written form: words like 'all right' and 'every day.'
Is alright a word?
Curzan says it's been around for more than 100 years and writers like Langston Hughes and James Joyce write it as one word, but it is still considered nonstandard English.
What about everyday?
Curzan says, "Every day is an adverb, as in 'I do that every day.' When we want to make it an adjective, suddenly it’s one word as in 'it’s an everyday occurrence.'"
What's the difference between some times and sometimes?
This trips Curzan up. She says, "It's usually one word if we are referring to an indefinite moment in the future, as in 'let’s meet sometime next week.' But it’s two words if you say 'that’s been happening for some time.'"