Everything vs. Every Thing

'Everything' is considered one word and it is an indefinite pronoun. But what about its alternate spelling with space between the two parts? Is it also correct?

"Everything" vs. "Every Thing" in English Grammar

Is 'Every Thing' Correct?

At first glance, 'everything' and 'every thing' appear the same. But they are not 100% the same.

Why This Mistake?

In the past, 'everything' was spelled like 'every thing'. One of the first things you should know is that the one-word everything is now the default and more common spelling.

Everything is fine. Don't worry about a thing. (Not 'Every thing is fine...')

Differences in Meaning

Now, if we want to discuss the differences in their meaning, we can say that 'every thing' refers to things as individual things or units, while 'everything' refers to all things as a collective unit. Consider these examples:

We need every thing on this list.

Here, it means we need to buy every single items on this list.

We need everything on this list.

Here, it means we need to buy all of the items on this list.

As you can see, the difference between these two examples is one of emphasis. In one sentence, we focus on the individual items, in another, we focus on all items as a unit.

Everything

Everything (without space between 'every' and 'thing') is the correct and most commonly-used spelling. It is defined as all things; the most important thing; the situation now; life generally.

How's everything going with you?

Everything was stolen from the house.

Every thing

'Every thing' as two words is very rare in standard or written English. But, in some cases, we have to use the two-word version, for example when an additional adjective is placed in between these two words.

She gets upset over every little thing that I say.

Stop fussing over every single thing.

Use Singular Verb

Note that even though 'everything' refers to all things in a group, it takes a singular verb.

When we got home, we realized that everything was stolen. (Not 'were stolen')

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