Every vs. All vs. Each


Every = all members of a group considered individually

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


Every, All, Each – Difference

Every‘ and ‘all‘ have similar meanings. We use them to talk about ‘fully of the group’, to refer to the total number of units. However, there is a small difference in the usage of ‘every’ and ‘all’.

Every‘ denotes ‘each individual unit’ of a complete group. ‘All‘ refers to ‘a complete group’: We enjoyed every minute of the movie. After the incident, all students gave a call to their parents.


Each implies all members of a group albeit they are considered more one by one (individually). We use Each to talk about two or more people/things: He had a rose in each hand. Each member of the team was given a warm welcome.

Each and Every generally suggest the same meaning. They refer to all members of a group considered individually. However, Every is closer in meaning to All than Each is:

Every question in the test paper must be read and answered carefully.

Each question in the test paper must be read and answered carefully.

(we use each when we think of them more as one by one. There is lesser emphasis on the individual with Every when comparing it to Each).


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

He consoled each member of the family who had lost their loved ones in the accident.

(= Consoled Martha, consoled Emily, consoled Jack… etc. until it had been consoled ALL of the family members individually… Yes, there was a lot of repetition)

He consoled all members of the family who had lost their loved ones in the accident.

(= Consoled all family members in one go … consoled once)


All passengers travelling in the car must wear their seat belts.    (refers to the whole group)

Every passenger travelling in the car must wear their seat belts.                 (focuses on each individual member of the whole group)

Each passenger travelling in the car must wear their seat belt.    (implies all members of a group; one by one (individually).                

(We use their instead of his or her to refer back to a singular noun (passenger) because we are referring to both male and female passengers.)


Usage of Every

When we use every + noun as a subject, it uses a singular verb (verb + s): Every elderly person needs love and care.

Every day is a chance to learn something new.

She’s been out every night this week.

Every house overlooking the ocean was worth $3 million. 

Every cannot be used when referring to two things and is not common with small numbers.

Every (one) of the parents is responsible for child care.                       (incorrect)

Each of the parents is responsible for child care.                                (correct) 


Notice that the noun that comes after Every is in singular form:

I attempted every question in the test paper. (NOT every questions)

I believe every word Martha says. (NOT every words)

Everyone‘ can work as a subject on its own: Everyone was excited about the news. 


Some example sentences of Every

Every time I go to Hilo, I get caught in the rain.

She seems to know every single person in the village.

Every prisoner has a guest on Sundays.

The principal wants to ask every student about the incident.

The police looked carefully at every car that drove past.

Every player will receive a certificate at the end of the training.

The students listened carefully to every word the principal said at the last day of the school.

These jewelleries may look like the real thing, but (each and) every one of them is a fake.


Usage of All

All refers to the total number of people or things of a group. They are viewed as a group and not individually. There are at least 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 media called him a liar and a hypocrite. 

We use ‘all’ with plural and uncountable nouns and the verb can be singular or plural. However, ‘everyone’ comes with singular verbs: We all were disappointed. Everyone was disappointed. 


Some example sentences of All

Place all luggage on the weighing machine. (NOT every luggage)

I like all music. (NOT every music)

He had worked all his life in the forests.

The children played in the field all day.

You must have heard it all before.

They have given up all hope of having a child.

Someone’s taken all milk from the refrigerator!

Will all the students please stand over here.

Martha didn’t say a single word all the way back home.


Usage of Each

Each + singular countable noun

We use a singular (countable) noun after the word EachSlow down and enjoy each moment of your life. When the children arrive, you give them each a lollipop. If you live each day as if it were your last, someday you’ll be right. The police are going to ask each of you to give your side of the story. They played the national anthem of each country before the game had begun. 

Notice that after each of, the verb is usually in singular form while in informal English, we will sometimes use a plural verb:

Each of the passengers has a different story to tell. (correct)

Each of the passengers have a different story to tell. (correct, informal)

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

Almost each convict was set free from ADX Florence for good conduct. (incorrect)

Almost every convict was set free from ADX Florence for good conduct. (correct)


Some example sentences of Each

Each of the hospitalaccommodates a ward for poor.

Each and every one of the flowers has its own colour and smell.

The bill comes to $500, so that’s about $100 each.

We each (= every one of us) wanted the room overlooking the sea, so we tossed a coin to decide.


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