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Anyway and Similar Words

Anyway and Similar Words
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Hello! This week’s question on Ask a Teacher comes from Nitin in India. He asked us on You Tube:


Could you tell me the use and meaning of these two words: nevertheless and anyway?

Nitin, India


Dear Nitin,

Thank you for writing to us. “Anyway” is an adverb. That means it describes or gives us more information about a verb or adjective. The usual meaning is similar to “in any case” or “even though something else is true.” Let us look at some examples of how we use it.

I think Candice will not read my message but I’m going to write to her anyway.

In this statement, the speaker is writing despite the fact that the message is not likely to be read.

Another meaning of “anyway” is to give more force to a question, as in:

You can’t go to the front of the line. Who do you think you are, anyway?

And a third way to use “anyway” is to add or make a change to something that was said before:

I’m sorry, you can’t go to the park today. Anyway, it’s going to rain.

An informal word that is used like “anyway” is “anyhow.”

Other words like anyway

You also asked about the word “nevertheless.” It is an adverb too. And it means in spite of something that was said before. It is more formal and sounds a little old-fashioned when compared to “anyway.” For example:

COVID-19 infection rates are falling in my state. Nevertheless, we should still follow the safety guidelines.

Other words or expressions you may see that can serve the same purpose as “anyway” are "anyways," “nonetheless,” “regardless,” “in any case” and “at any rate.”

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And that’s Ask a Teacher.

I’m Jill Robbins.

Dr. Jill Robbins wrote this lesson for VOA Learning English. Mario Ritter, Jr. was the editor.


Words in This Story

despiteadv. without being prevented by (something) — used to say that something happens or is true even though there is something that might prevent it from happening or being true

formaladj. of language; suitable for serious or official speech and writing

in spite of –adv. (the same as despite)

informaladj. of language; relaxed in tone; not suited for serious or official speech and writing

old-fashioned –adj. of or relating to the past: generally no longer used or replaced by something more recent

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