by John December 23, 2020

The English language can be somewhat confusing and can leave us feeling like we don’t know if we’re coming or going. It is further complicated when we hear the same words used in English for different reasons and in different ways.

One such word is ‘Anyway’.

Anyway - the different uses

In today’s blog post we will talk about the 4 uses of the word anyway.

They are:

  1. In spite of (contrast)
  2. To give a second reason for something
  3. To change the subject
  4. To return to a subject

The 4 uses of 'Anyway'

We use the word anyway for four different reasons.

  1. In spite of
  2. To give a second reason for something
  3. To change the subject
  4. To return to a subject that was being talked about previously

Anyway - In spite of

In English we have many words for contrast, to express different opinions etc. the most common of which is ‘but’. Some more words like this are (In spite of, despite, although, however, even though etc.)

For example: In spite of the good weather, he didn’t go outside.”

We can use ‘anyway’ in exactly the same way:

“The weather was good, but he didn’t go outside anyway.”

These two sentences mean exactly the same thing.

Look at some more examples below:

He wasn’t hungry but he ate the food anyway.

She couldn’t afford the shoes. She bought them anyway.

I have seen that film several times before. I will watch it again anyway.

Test Yourself

Change the following sentences using the word ‘anyway’.

Example: In spite of not having any money, he went out with his friends.

Answer: He didn’t have any money but he went out with his friends anyway.

  1. I don’t like this movie. What are you doing this week?
  2. I want to buy a new phone because this one is not working. It is also a bad brand.
  3. So that’s why I didn’t go to her party. Oh yeah, as I was saying, I need to go shopping.
  4. The weather is great. However, I think I will stay inside and read a book.

To give a second reason for something

Secondly, we can use anyway to give a second reason for something.

It is important to note that we need to firstly give one reason for something and then give a second reason.
For example: He started an English course because he wanted to get a good job and he likes to talk to people from other countries anyway.

The first reason is to get a job, and the second reason is to talk to people from other countries.

Take a look at some more examples:

We went to the beach as it was a nice day, and we love swimming anyway.

I didn’t go to the cinema as I didn’t have any money but there were no films I liked showing anyway.

She decided not to date him as he was rude to her. She wasn’t attracted to him anyway.

Anyway - To change the subject

Furthermore, we can use the word anyway to talk about changing a subject.

Have you ever had an awkward silence?
You are with a friend or on a date and suddenly you run out of words to say, there is silence until somebody knows what to say or you think of another topic?

It is very common to use anyway here.

“So…anyway! What is your favourite colour?”

Imagine you had been having a conversation with a friend you haven’t seen in a long time and you are talking about work. Then you want to ask him about his family. You can say:

Anyway, how’s your family? It’s been ages since I’ve seen them.”

Anyway - To return to a subject

Last but not least, we can use the word anyway to return to a subject talked about previously.

Sometimes, when talking to somebody we can get carried away and go off topic.
If we are having a ball with someone and chatting, sometimes we go off in a tangent and the conversation changes but then we want to return to what we were originally talking about.

For Example:

Marina: “The future is going to be great. I can’t wait to see what advances in medicine the future brings. Oh, Did you see Elon Musk’s new invention?”

Brain: “Yes. It looks really cool.”

Marina: “So anyway, do you think technology will be better in the future?”

Test Yourself

Choose the correct form of ‘anyway’ to make similar sentences.



1 / 4

As I was saying earlier, I will go there for my holidays next year.

2 / 4

He wants to visit his family for Christmas as he has time off. He also loves Christmas.

3 / 4

The Television show is on tonight. On another topic, how is your new job going?

4 / 4

In spite of having to work late, I will still go to your party.

Your score is


Awkward silence: when two or more people are together and nobody is talking so people feel awkward

Somewhat: a bit(used with adjectives)


Don’t know if I’m coming or going: to be confused. Example: I don’t know where to go for my holidays. It’s so hard to decide. I don’t know if I’m coming or going.

Have a ball: To enjoy yourself a lot. Example: My birthday was amazing. I had a ball.

To get carried away: to enjoy something so much that you forget to stop. Example: My friend got carried away on his birthday and started telling everyone he loved them.

To go off in a tangent: to get distracted by something mentioned in conversation and start talking about that instead of the original subject. Example: The present was badly wrapped. Oh I remember one time when I bought the wrong wrapping paper and had to return it, the staff are very polite in that shop.

To go off topic: similar to ‘go off in a tangent’/changing the subject. 

Thanks for reading. Please talk a look at our other English grammar tips elsewhere on our site and if you’d like information on our English courses in Dublin, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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