anyway, at any rate, anyhow

Anyway belongs to a group of discourse markers that are used to help a story flow. Other markers used this way are anyway and anyhow (sometimes pronounced and spelled anyhoo humorously) and the phrase at any rate. They're commonly used after the speaker has deviated from the original story to inject some factoid or anecdote or side information. They basically say Enough about that — now I'll continue the story... These are all used within narratives when the speaker resumes the original story.

Here, I started to talk about Samantha and her dogs, who are all characters in my story, but I got sidetracked with my comment on how the Spanish name Flor sounds like floor. I use the phrase at any rate to resume the story.

So there's this woman on my floor, Samantha, who has two chihuahuas, Nacho and Flor (...which is cute in Spanish because it means flower, but in English, it just sounds like, well... floor.) At any rate, I ran into Samantha in the elevator on Friday afternoon, and she told me she was going out of town for the week. Some kind of medical conference (she's a doctor). She asked me if I'd be willing to take care of her dogs the whole week and she'd pay me.


Here, I make a little pun with the word entailed, and then use anyway to get back to the story.

But I didn't want to be abrupt and just say No!, so I asked her what taking care of them "entailed." (See what I did there?) Anyway, she told me that she had already hired a dog-walker to walk them in the morning and in the evening, but it would be great if I could just go into her apartment before bed and check in on them, so they wouldn't feel all alone.

In this snippet, I talk about learning Russian. However, in the middle of the story, I deviate a little to throw in a little factoid about Ben Affleck. Notice that I use now to mark the beginning of this deviation, and anyway to get back to the original story. In this way, these markers are like spoken parentheses: now is the opening parenthesis and anyway and its sisters are the closing parenthesis.

My New Year's resolution in 2017 was to learn a new language, but I didn't know which one. Then I saw Ben Affleck speaking Russian in a movie and I was like that's it! Now I didn't know any Russian at the time, so I had no idea how bad his Russian was; I just thought it sounded badass. Anyway, I've been studying it since then and I've actually gotten quite good at it.