“Annual” Vs. “Yearly” Vs. “Every Year” – Difference Revealed

Marcus Froland

Do you ever wonder if there is a difference between ‘annual’, ‘yearly’ and ‘every year’? If so, you’re not alone.

In this article, we’ll explain the differences between these three terms. We will also provide examples of how to use them correctly and dispel any common misconceptions about them.

By the end, you’ll be able to confidently use each one with precision!

Key Takeaways

  • ‘Annual’, ‘yearly’, and ‘every year’ all refer to a period of time that occurs annually.
  • ‘Annual’ and ‘yearly’ can be used interchangeably and mean an event happening once every year.
  • ‘Every year’ emphasizes regularity or predictability and can be used for any event that happens at least twice in different years.
  • ‘Annual’ and ‘yearly’ events occur at least twice, while ‘every year’ events can happen more frequently.

Definition of Annual, Yearly and Every Year

The terms ‘annual’, ‘yearly’, and ‘every year’ all refer to a period of time that occurs annually.

Annual is defined as happening once every year, while yearly means the same thing.

Every year refers to something recurring annually too, but typically suggests an emphasis on regularity or predictability.

All three terms are used interchangeably and can be used to describe any event that happens every single year.

For example, a tax return might be due ‘annually’ or ‘every year’.

The difference between these terms is subtle, and more often than not, they can be used interchangeably without changing the meaning of the sentence.

Differences Between Annual, Yearly and Every Year

You’ll notice that words like ‘annual,’ ‘yearly,’ and ‘every year’ all indicate something happening on a regular basis, but there are subtle distinctions between them.

First, ‘annual’ refers to an event or activity that usually happens once a year, with the year in question typically being specified. For example, ‘the annual summer festival’ would be referring to the summer festival that happens every year.

‘Yearly’ is used similarly to ‘annual’; however, it doesn’t always require specifying the exact year.

Finally, ‘every year’ emphasizes repetition and can be used for any kind of event or activity that happens at least twice in different years. For example, ‘We take a vacation every year.’

In summary:

  1. ‘Annual’ usually refers to an event happening once per specified year.
  2. ‘Yearly’ implies repetition without specifying the exact year.
  3. ‘Every year’ emphasizes repetition over multiple unspecified years.
  4. Both ‘annual’ and ‘yearly’ events occur at least twice.

Examples of Annual, Yearly and Every Year

You’re probably familiar with some events that happen annually, yearly, or every year.

For example, holidays such as New Year’s Day and Christmas occur each year, while national elections are held once every four years.

Income taxes must be filed annually; however, property taxes may be due on a yearly basis.

The Olympics take place every two years, and the World Cup is held once every four years.

Many people make resolutions at the beginning of each new year to improve themselves in some way. Some even plan vacations or trips for family reunions that occur each or every year.

These are just a few examples of how annual, yearly, and every year can be used in different contexts to refer to something that recurs regularly over time.

Usage of Annual, Yearly and Every Year

It’s important to understand how the terms ‘annual’, ‘yearly’ and ‘every year’ are used in different contexts.

Generally, these words can be used interchangeably when talking about something that occurs or is done on a regular basis.

  1. Annual usually refers to activities such as anniversaries, conferences, or festivals that happen once a year.

  2. Yearly is often used when referring to events that take place during the same time every year, like holidays or birthdays.

  3. Every year may refer to any activity that happens annually but with an emphasis on its frequency and repetition; for example, ‘I have been going to this event every year for the past five years.’

  4. Additionally, it can also mean ‘each successive year’, such as ‘the population increases by 5% every year’.

Common Misconceptions About Annual, Yearly and Every Year

Many people mistakenly think that there’s no difference between ‘annual’, ‘yearly’, and ‘every year’. However, this isn’t the case.

Annual refers to something happening once a year, regardless of when it happens.

Yearly means something happens every year at the same time, e.g., an annual meeting held in January each year.

On the other hand, every year implies a more frequent occurrence than yearly. For example, ‘the family goes on vacation every year’.

Understanding these nuances can help make sure you use the right word in the right context.


You now have a better understanding of the differences between annual, yearly, and every year. Although they are often used interchangeably, they all mean something different.

Annual is used to describe something that happens once per year, while yearly implies happening at regular intervals each year. Every year is used to describe a specific period of time which repeats annually.

Knowing when to use each term properly will ensure your conversations are accurate and clear.