any time vs. anytime

Hi,

I have a question on a subtle (to me) difference between the two.

  1. You can call me anytime you want.
  2. You can call me anytime.

You can use 2), because “anytime” is a one-word adverb. Then what about 1)? Because of “you want”, I thought it should be “You can call me any time you want.” because “any time” is a noun phrase that can be a objective of “want”.

What do you think? If I am right, “at” is omitted in front of “any time” in 1)?

Please let me know!

Thanks in advance,
sweetpumpkin

The difference between “anytime” and “any time” is subtle to native speakers too, so you are not alone! I think that most native speakers would not see a problem with #1. By analogy with “whenever you want”, it almost seems as if “anytime” is behaving as a conjunction. However, I would by inclination choose “You can call me any time you want” (I don’t see how “any time” could be the object of “want” though). “You can call me at any time you want” does not feel so natural to me. “You can call me at any time” is OK of course.

The bad error to avoid is “at anytime”.