The English language is filled with words that have similar spellings or root words, but that mean completely different things. Take nowhere, somewhere, everywhere, and anywhere, for example. These words refer to place (or a lack of place), but they each mean different things.
Each of these words consists of two parts:
1 The prefix ( no, some, every, and any)
2 The word where, which in this context means “place”
By breaking it down, the meanings become clear. For instance, nowhere becomes “no place.” Somewhere means “some place.” Everywhere means “every place.” And anywhere means “any place.”
Here’s what else you should know about these words, including spelling tips, examples of how to use them correctly, and common mistakes and how to avoid them.
How to spell nowhere, somewhere, everywhere, and anywhere
Here are the correct spellings of these words:
The key thing to remember is that each of these is a complete word in itself. That means you don’t have to (and shouldn’t) add a space in the middle—no where, some where, every where, and any where are spelled incorrectly and do not make grammatical sense.
How to use each word
Because these words have similarities in spelling, it’s easy to confuse them if you aren’t careful.
To help you do that, let’s look at the definitions of each word and their parts of speech:
- Nowhere (adverb, noun): not in, or to, any place; not anywhere. Or: no place, or a place that doesn’t exist.
- Somewhere (adverb, noun): in, or to, someplace. Here, the place referred to is specific but unknown, i.e., some unspecified place.
- Everywhere (adverb, noun): in, or to, every place or part. This includes all places.
- Anywhere (adverb, noun): in, or to, any place. The place is not specific.
Here are some examples of how to use each word and why they work, plus incorrect uses of these words:
Incorrect: He turned a corner, but there was everywhere left to run.
Why “nowhere” is correct: Here, the subject of the sentence has been cornered. So there is “no place” he can go.
Incorrect: I know my pen is everywhere in my backpack.
Why “somewhere” is correct: The pen is “some place” within the bag. It cannot be located “every place” in the bag because it is a singular object.
CORRECT: The basket broke, and the oranges went everywhere.
INCORRECT: The basket broke, and the oranges went anywhere.
Why “everywhere” is correct: When the bag breaks, the oranges scatter in all directions. So they go “every place,” or “in all places.”
CORRECT: You can sit anywhere you choose.
INCORRECT You can sit nowhere you choose.
Why “anywhere” is correct: The subject of the sentence (“you”) is able to sit “any place” they choose. However, they can’t sit in a place that doesn’t exist. So “nowhere” doesn’t make sense here.
Nowhere, somewhere, everywhere, and anywhere examples
1 There’s nowhere I’d rather be than at home with my dog.
2 The trail was nowhere in sight.
3 That town is in the middle of nowhere.
Note: The phrase “middle of nowhere” implies remoteness or physical distance from a population. For example, a cabin 50 miles from the next town might be considered to be in the middle of nowhere, while a house in a major city would not.
1 I know my phone is somewhere in my apartment.
2 Somewhere over the rainbow . . .
3 We’ve met somewhere before, haven’t we?
1 The festival draws people from everywhere.
2 There were dandelions everywhere I looked.
3 Everywhere I go, I always seem to run into friendly people.
1 They could be anywhere by now.
2 I don’t have anywhere to put that.
3 She could go anywhere she wanted.
Nowhere, somewhere, everywhere, and anywhere FAQs
What is the correct spelling of nowhere, somewhere, everywhere, and anywhere?
The key thing to remember is that these words are made up of the prefix (like “no” or “some”) and the word “where.” Remember: There is no space between those parts—it’s one word.
What are the meanings of nowhere, somewhere, everywhere, and anywhere?
Ultimately, each of these words refers to a place, which may or may not be known or specific. The simplest way to understand what each of these words means is to take the prefix and add the word “place.” For example, nowhere becomes “no place.” And everywhere becomes “every place.” When using the word as an adverb, add the word “in” beforehand. For instance, somewhere would be “in some place.”
When should you use nowhere, somewhere, everywhere, and anywhere?
In general, you should use these words when referring to a place. However, these words are not interchangeable. For example, you should use nowhere when the subject of the sentence is not in any place. You should use somewhere when the place you’re referring to is unknown. Everywhere is best used when the subject is in every place. And anywhere is used when it could be any place.