Anyway or Anyways Grammar

So which one do you use, anyway or anyways? And what about any way?

We'll take a look at the different meanings here and make the difference clear. 

Anyway 

Anyway is an adverb. It can be used to mean one of two things:

  • Regardless
  • Returning to a Previous Point / Ending a Conversation

Regardless


In this context, anyway is being used similarly to the word 'regardless'. 

The meaning here is to indicate that something happened or will happen in spite of something else, or regardless of something else. 

It's common to use it with the word 'but' and it appears at the end of a clause or sentence


Examples:

  • I'm tired but I'll go anyway
    = Even though I'm tired, I'll still go
  • The government knew they could lose, but they held a referendum anyway 
    = Despite the possibility of losing, the government still had a referendum
  • It's £100. I think he'll buy it anyway, but let's see
    = He may buy it in spite of it costing a lot

Returning to a Previous Point / Ending a Conversation


  • Returning to a Previous Point

Anyway is used in this way in conversation. It's common for it to appear at the start of the sentence in this case.

The first way is to indicate the return to a previous subject, topic or point that you were talking about, usually the main topic of the conversation. 


Examples:

  • Anyway, as I was saying, we'll have to meet up soon.
  • Anyway, the teachers at the school really aren't performing how I had hoped

  • Ending a Conversation or Changing the Topic 

The other way is to indicate that you are ending the conversation you are having with somebody, or introducing another topic. 

For ending a conversation, it's also common to do this in letters or emails you write when you get to the end. 


Examples:

  • Anyway, I think I've told you everything about my holiday. Tell me about yours?
  • Anyway, I really have to get going now. I'll see you again soon. 
  • Anyway, that's enough about politics! Let's talk about the film


Anyways

Anyways has exactly the same meaning as anyway, but it is informal or colloquial (used in ordinary or familiar conversation).

So the grammar and examples described above are the same for anyways

Should I use Anyway or Anyways?


So if anyway and anyways have exactly the same meaning, which one should you use?

You will find both in dictionaries, with the Oxford English Dictionary describing anyways as 'North American informal dialect'. 

But you are best to to use Anyway.

Anyway is an informal conversational word, so there is no real reason to use anyways

Though less common, anyways is not wrong as such, so if you do decide to use it, then do so in a very informal way, but definitely do not use it in any more formal writing or speaking.

What about 'any way'?


This is a completely different meaning to the anyway or anyways, though it is still an adverb. 

It means 'by any means possible':

  • I will pass this test any way that I can. I will cheat if I have to

So there is no connection to anyway or anyways.