Although "anyway" is acceptable in formal language, this is more commonly used in conversation.
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.
- 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."
- 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."
- 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."