1.   To not be influenced or prevented by something previously mentioned.

This has the same meaning as “regardless,” “nonetheless,” “despite” and “in spite of.”

  • “It’s not raining now, but bring an umbrella anyway.”
  • “I can drive you home. I was going in that direction anyway.”
2.   To confirm or support a previous statement.
  • “I’m not sure what I was expecting. He wasn’t going to help me anyway.”
  • “Really, it’s not a big deal, and anyway, it was a trial run.”
3.   To focus on what is important by passing over something mentioned as less important.
  • “We really want to visit Tasmania again. But anyway, now’s not really the right time for travelling.”
  • “I thought the production could’ve been better. Anyway, it was a pretty good show overall.”
4.   To limit a previous statement.

Here, we start with a general statement and then continue with a more specific statement. This has the same meaning as “at least.”

  • “I don’t think you can get that in Australia. Definitely not in Melbourne anyway.”
  • “Of course he’s not going to admit he made a mistakes. Not in front of the boss, anyway.”
5.   Used in questions to emphasise the speaker’s wish for the truth.
  • “What are you doing here anyway?”
  • “Why did you help her anyway?”
6.   Used as a discourse marker in spoken English.

Discourse markers are words and phrases that help to connect, manage and organise what we say.

There are a number of ways “anyway” is used as a discourse marker.

a. To change a subject
  • “Yea, it’s been pretty crazy at work. Anyway, how are things with you?”
  • “Hey, where were you this morning?”
    • “I had a dental appointment. Anyway, I heard there were some news regarding the takeover.”
b. To return to a previous topic
  • “Wally wasn’t feeling well last week so we had to cancel our trip.”
    • “Sorry to hear that. Would you like more coffee?”
  • “No, I think I’m good thanks. Anyway, we had to call the hotel and ask if we could change our dates.”
c. To bring a topic or a conversation to an end
  • Anyway, we wanted to get a new car but decided to wait a little longer.”
  • “Thank you for all your help. Anyway, I gotta go. I’ll catch you later.”
    • “No problem. See you later.”

Original post: 24 April 2021