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All - Every - Each

The difference between All, Every, and Each - Quick Explanation

All means the total number of people or things considered as a group.
Every means all members of a group considered individually.
Each means all members of a group considered individually though we think of them more one by one.

What is the difference between Each and Every?

Both Each and Every generally have the same meaning. They refer to all members of a group considered individually. Every is closer in meaning to All than Each is.

  • Every book in the course must be read before the end of the semester.
  • Each book in the course must be read before the end of the semester.

(= This book and that book and that book etc. of the group of books) We use each when we think of them more as one by one. There is a little less emphasis on the individual with Every when comparing it to Each.

However notice that every cannot be used when referring to two things and is not common with small numbers.

  • Every (one) of my parents (incorrect)
  • Each of my parents (correct)

We cannot use Each with the words Almost or Nearly. Here we use Every.

  • Almost each car pollutes the atmosphere. (incorrect)
  • Almost every car pollutes the atmosphere. (correct)

More details about Every, Each and All…

-- EVERY --

Every refers to all members of a group though considered individually. It can be used to talk about three or more people/things.

Every + singular noun

The noun that comes after Every is in singular form.

  • I have visited every country in South America (we do NOT say: every countries)
  • I can understand every word our teacher says. (we do NOT say: every words)

Note, when you use every + noun as a subject, it uses a singular verb (verb + s)

  • Every day is a chance to learn something new.
  • Every child needs love and care.
  • Every house on the street looks the same.

Every + number + plural noun

Every can be followed by a plural noun when there is a number before that noun. This is common with periods of time or things at regular intervals.

  • He gets his head shaved every three weeks.
  • You need to take a break every two hours.

We can also use every without a number and a singular noun to refer to regular intervals:

  • He plays football every Saturday.
  • She goes to the gym every day.

-- EACH --

Each refers to all members of a group though we think of them more one by one (individually). Each can be used to talk about two or more people/things.

Each + singular countable noun

You use a singular (countable) noun after the word Each.

  • Make sure you enjoy each moment in your life.
  • They play the national anthem of each country before the game begins.
  • Live each day as if it were your last.

Each + one

One can be used to replace the singular countable noun if it has already been mentioned.

  • A: What do I have to do with these antique vases? B: You need to take each one out of the box very carefully. (each one = each vase)

Each of + determiner + plural noun

Each can be followed by a determiner (my, his, the, etc.) and a plural noun.

  • I kiss each of my children before they go to bed at night.
  • The teacher had a little kid holding on to each of her hands.
  • Each of the guides has a different group to show around the museum.

Notice how after each of the verb is usually in singular form though when speaking informally, you will sometimes hear a plural verb used.

  • Each of my students has a different assignment to complete. (correct use)
  • Each of my students have a different assignment to complete. (informal use)

Each of + pronoun (you/us/them)

We can only use the pronouns you/us/them after each of.

  • He gave each of us a small gift at the end of the course.
  • You need to wash each of them before use.
  • Each of you needs to complete the assignment individually.

Again the verb following each of + pronoun should be in the singular form.

Each as a pronoun

Each can be used by itself (without a noun) as a pronoun.

  • When the students finished to course, each was given a certificate. (Each = each of the students)

Though it is more common to use each one instead of each by itself.

  • each one was given a certificate.

Noun/Pronoun + each

Each can be used after the noun (or pronoun) it describes.

  • The parents gave their children some pocket money. To avoid problems, they each received the same amount.

Auxiliary Verb/To Be + each

Each can be used after an auxiliary verb or the verbs Are and Were.

  • I have four books to sell and they are each worth around five dollars.
  • They have each been told their responsibilities.

Object + each

Instead of going before/after the subject, each can appear after the object.
This is common when the noun object refers to an amount, how many of something there is or when giving a price.

  • My paintings are worth $100 each (= Each of my paintings are worth $100)
  • I gave my children each an ice cream.

-- ALL --

All refers to the total number of people or things of a group. They are considered as a group and not individually. There are minimum three things in the group.

All + noun

We can use All with a plural noun to make a generalization about an entire group of something.

  • All sharks are dangerous.
  • All elephants are slow.

All + of + determiner + noun

The noun can be singular, plural or an uncountable noun. These nouns can also be replaced by pronouns.

  • You need to read all of the book.
  • All of the pages are yellow and old.
  • All of the fish in the pond have died.
  • You need to remove all of them before they start to smell bad.

Note that All of + singular noun is not common and Whole or Entire used instead of all of.

  • You need to read the whole book (= all of the book)

We can also remove OF before the determiner + noun (but we must use OF before a pronoun)

  • You need to read all the book.
  • All the pages are yellow and old.

Pronoun + all

Sometimes you can place All after a pronoun to emphasize that every single one of that group is included.

  • We all hope you get better soon.
  • I hope you all have a great time.
  • I have made us all some sandwiches.

Compare All vs. Each

All refers to the entire group as a whole. Each refers to the individual members of the group.

  • I say goodbye to each student as they leave the room.

(= Goodbye John, goodbye Mary, goodbye Daniel… etc. until it has been said to ALL of the students individually… Yes, there is a lot of repetition)

  • I say goodbye to all of the students as they leave the room.

(= Goodbye students … I just say goodbye once)

Compare All vs. Every

I simple way to remember is that All is with a plural noun + plural verb while Every is with a singular noun + singular verbEvery can also suggest “without exception”.

  • All students receive a certificate.
  • Every student receives a certificate.

We can use All with uncountable nouns (and not Every).

  • I like all music (NOT every music)
  • Place all luggage on the counter. (NOT every luggage)

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