“Any place” or “anyplace”? Though we spell them differently, they sound the same, but do they mean the same thing? While we shouldn’t use one for formal writing, the other is perfectly acceptable. Is it “any place” or “anyplace”?
“Any place” is correct for both speaking and writing. While people often use “anyplace” in spoken language, most consider it colloquial and substandard for formal writing. American dictionaries and style guides suggest using “anywhere” instead of “anyplace.”
This article will explain the meanings of “any place” and “anyplace.” We will also discuss the usage and the grammatical differences between the two. Finally, we will look briefly at the history of “anyplace” and the changing attitude toward its use.
What Does “Any Place” Mean?
“Any place” is a noun phrase consisting of the noun “place” and the determiner “any.” A determiner, a form of an article, is a part of speech that we use at the beginning of a noun phrase to indicate which thing you are referring to or whether you are referring to one thing or several.
In addition to “any,” other examples of determiners include “a,” “an,” “the,” and “some.” For example, each of the words in bold in the following sentence is a determiner:
- The rose is still fresh, but some flowers in the bouquet are fading.
The phrase “any place” refers to a place that is not specific, and “any place” must have a space between “any” and “place.”
We offer several articles addressing determiners and articles, including “’A One’ or ‘An One’: Understanding Correct Grammar” and “‘A Usual’ or ‘An Usual’: Which Article Should You Use?“
Although each article addresses determiners with specific words, they include helpful information about determiners in general.
Is It Grammatically Correct to Say “Any Place”?
The phrase “any place” is grammatically correct, and we consider it standard English. New language learners may use this phrase with confidence.
How Do You Use “Any Place”?
As a noun phrase, we can use “any place” as any part of a sentence that requires a noun or pronoun, such as a subject, complements, direct and indirect objects, and the object of a preposition.
In What Context Can You Use Any Place?
You can use “any place” in both speech and formal writing. However, this context is not true of “anyplace,” which we will discuss momentarily in this article.
Using “Any Place” in a Sentence
The sentences below demonstrate some of the ways you can use “any place” in a sentence.
- Any place on the list offers discounts.
- Is there any place open today?
- Any place you choose for dinner will be fine.
Notice that the word “place” is a noun meaning a location or a thing in each sentence above. “Any” is a determiner that modifies “place,” indicating an unspecified place that meets the sentence’s criteria.
For example, the first sentence establishes that all unspecified locations on the list offer some kind of discount. Next, in the second sentence, someone wonders if there are many unspecified locations or perhaps even just one that is open. Finally, the third indicates several unspecified places are available from which you may choose.
Is “Anyplace” a Real Word?
You might be wondering if “anyplace” is even a word. Yes, “anyplace” is a real word, but we consider it nonstandard English.
Is There a Space Between “Anyplace”?
But shouldn’t “anyplace” have a space between “any” and “place”? As a matter of fact, no; it is an entirely different word than the noun phrase “any place.”
What Does “Anyplace” Mean?
Anyplace tells us where something can or might occur and, thus, is an adverb. However, because “anyplace” and “any place” sound the same, the difference between the noun phrase “any place” and the adverb “anyplace” can be confusing to both new language learners and native speakers.
Is It Correct to Say “Anyplace”?
Hmm. Yes, but mostly, no. Yes, it can be correct to say “anyplace” in casual conversations with individuals you know. But, no, you shouldn’t use “anyplace” in formal situations or writing. Instead, use “anywhere” in its place.
When Can You Use “Anyplace”?
We can use “anyplace” in casual conversations, but most American style guides consider it colloquial. Thus, we should avoid using “anyplace” in formal addresses or writing. Instead, most will recommend that you use the synonym “anywhere”:
- Incorrect: My mother goes anyplace that has free food.
- Correct: My mother goes anywhere that has free food.
How Is “Anyplace” Used?
“Anyplace” tells where something occurs or will occur. It is an adverb answering the question “Where?” and refers to a singular nonspecific place.
Using “Anyplace” in a Full Sentence
The following examples demonstrate how to use “anyplace” in a sentence.
- We aren’t getting anyplace with this argument.
Here, “anyplace” does not refer to a location but rather where the argument is leading, so “anyplace” is modifying the verb phrase “are [not] getting.”
- You can put your luggage anyplace.
Again, “anyplace” answers the question “where?” and tells where the luggage can go.
- I can paint anyplace if I have my art kit.
This is an interesting example because it can clearly demonstrate the difference between “any place” and “anyplace.”
If we write it as “I can paint anyplace,” the sentence tells us where I can paint. However, the sentence “I can paint any place if I have my art kit” tells me what I can paint. Again, “anyplace” without the space is an adverb answering “where?” while “any place” (with the space) is a noun phrase answering “what?”
Idioms and “Anyplace”
We can also use “anyplace” idiomatically. For example, we might say, “We aren’t getting anyplace with this lesson.”
This sentence is an example of an idiom, a group of words that have some kind of metaphorical rather than literal meaning. Idioms add color to language and are one of the ways that you can sound more like a native speaker. However, they can be challenging because we cannot take them literally (source).
“We aren’t getting anyplace” does not refer to a location someone can’t find but, rather, refers to how the argument is going. It means these individuals cannot complete a task or resolve a concern. For example, “We all went home to get some sleep after we realized we were not getting anyplace on the project.”
Why Is It Okay to Use “Anywhere” but Not “Anyplace”?
Don’t they mean the same thing? Yes, they mean the same thing. Logically speaking, “anyplace” and “anywhere” can effectively communicate where something occurs. It is a matter of convention.
A convention is a way groups of people have used something traditionally over a long time frame. Conventions do change, but they do not happen quickly.
A brief Internet search will confirm that American English still abides by the convention that “anyplace” is nonstandard English. However, some are questioning this notion as an arbitrary rule.
The Changing View of “Anyplace”
Dates vary depending on the source, but we can find the use of “anyplace” in written documents going back to the 1800s. This may sound old, but we would consider this a recent adaptation in terms of language.
One site states that “one-word ‘anyplace’ has appeared in printed books since 1800, with a marked rise in use since the 1940s” (source). In fact, you can find it in a variety of books, newspapers, periodicals, and blogs.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary traces the word’s origin to 1819. The entry does not specify “anyplace” as being substandard English. It merely defines the word as “anywhere” and identifies it as an adverb. Still, many other dictionaries mark it as informal.
While subtle, these omissions indicate that the convention is gradually changing, albeit over a long time.
Summing It Up
The table below offers a handy way to keep “any place” and “anyplace” clear in your mind.
➤can work in any context requiring a noun.
➤works in casual conversation
➤better to replace with “anywhere”
Distinguishing Parts of Speech and of the Sentence
Looking at parts of speech and of the sentence is a helpful way of understanding the differences between “any place” and “anyplace.” First, let’s review the difference between parts of speech vs. parts of the sentence.
Parts of Speech vs. Parts of the Sentence
A part of speech is a label that identifies a word as either a noun, pronoun, verb, adjective, adverb, preposition, conjunction, article, or interjection.
Sometimes parts of speech can be phrases, a group of words that work together as one idea. For example, verbs, nouns, adjectives, and other parts of speech can be either individual words or phrases (source).
“Parts of the sentence” is a label for words according to their function in a sentence, such as a subject, verb, or complement.
One easy way to keep the two straight is that parts of speech tell what a word is while parts of the sentence show how it functions.
The Noun Phrase “Any Place”
“Any place” is a noun phrase consisting of a noun and a determiner, and, as a noun phrase, it can be any part of the sentence that requires a noun. This means that “any place” can be a subject, complement, a direct or indirect object, or the object of a preposition, to name a few.
|Subject||Any place that doesn’t have central air should be removed from the list.|
|Subject complement||The winner will be any place that Frank approves.|
|Direct object||I will give you any place your heart desires.|
|Indirect object||I will give any place designated a historical building a thousand dollars.|
|Object of a preposition||The snow will fall on any place that isn’t protected by a canopy.|
The Adverb “Anyplace”
“Anyplace” answers the question “where?” and indicates any point or location where action may occur. Thus, “anyplace” is an adverb.
In the sentence “I’ll eat anyplace that is open,” the adverb “anyplace” modifies the verb “eat,” explaining where I will eat. Wait! Why isn’t anyplace a noun phrase?
First, without a space between “any” and “place,” it is not a phrase since a phrase includes more than one word. Secondly, ask yourself this: will you be eating a place? No. “Anyplace” tells you that I will eat at any unspecified location that is open, so it tells you where I am willing to eat and, thus, functions as an adverb.
Another potential source of confusion with “any place” and “anyplace” has to do with similar-looking indefinite pronouns. A pronoun takes the place of a noun, and an indefinite pronoun is one that does not refer to a specific noun.
Pronoun: “When Joanie returned the book, “it” was covered in graffiti” (“It” takes the place of a specific book).
Indefinite pronoun: “When Joanie returns ‘anything,’ it is usually in bad shape” (“Anything” refers to one thing, but it is unspecified).
“Any Place” and “Anyplace” Are Not Indefinite Pronouns.
Even though “any place” refers to something that is unspecified, there is no word replacing a noun. “Anyplace” also does not take the place of a noun, so it is not an indefinite pronoun. This article was written for strategiesforparents.com.
Keeping this straight requires a good understanding of nouns, phrases, indefinite pronouns, and adverbs. Our article “Anyday or Any Day: Which Is Correct?“ looks at a similar word/phrase and might reinforce your understanding.
To know whether to use “anyplace” or “any place,” pay attention to how the word or phrase is being used in the sentence. If it answers the question “what?” use the noun phrase “any place.” If it answers the question “where?” use the adverb “anyplace” or, even better, “everywhere.”
Still, unless you are a professional writer purposely playing with the rules of convention, do not use “anyplace” in writing. Keep it simple and use “anywhere” instead of “anyplace.” Changes occur to language regularly but usually over time.
It can get confusing, especially if you are an English language learner. Your best bet is to use “anywhere,” not “anyplace.” Any place that gives you knowledge will also give you confidence anywhere you go.