All vs. Every

'All' and 'every' are used a lot in English. They tend to confuse learners as they talk about quantity.

"All" vs. "Every" in the English Grammar

What Are Their Main Differences?

'All' can be used before plural and singular nouns, but 'every' is only used before singular nouns.


Grammatical Functions

  • 'All' can be:

As you know, determiners are used before nouns to define them. 'All' as a determiner is used before nouns as a modifier. If we use 'all' as a pronoun it is used alone, we mean you cannot use a noun after it. Adverbs are used to define adjectives or other adverbs, we can even use them after some verbs all as an adverb follows all these rules.

All babies are supposed to talk at 2. → determiner

I have no pens left. All are in my grandmother's house. → pronouns

His father dressed all in black. → adverb

  • 'Every' can be used as:
  1. a determiner
  2. an adjective

As a determiner, 'every' is used before nouns as a modifier. As an adjective, it is used before nouns as well, but it implies a slightly different meaning.

I get him wrong every single time. → determiner

I take a shower every day before I leave house for work. → adjective

Verbs Agree with Nouns

  • 'All':

is followed by singular uncountable nouns or plural countable nouns. As a result, the verb after the term 'all' is either a singular verb or a plural one.

All guests were waiting outside for their taxi to pick them up.

All the butter was melted under the sun.

  • 'Every':

is followed by singular nouns. As you know, verbs agree with nouns they are used with. So, you have to use singular verbs with the word 'every.'

Every employer has to be fair to the employees.

Every chocolate was wrapped in ribbons.

'Every' as an Adjective

  • 'Every':

as an adjective, can either refer to a 'whole group' or it can indicate an event that is 'repeated' a lot and regularly.

I workout every morning at 6.

Every car in our country is over priced.

Using 'Of'

  • 'All':

The term 'all' can be followed by 'of' when it is used before noun phrases [determiners + nouns], or plural nouns. We can even easily use the term 'all' before noun phrases or plural nouns.

I used all my money to invest on this project.

He invited all of his close friends to my birthday party.

  • 'Every':

The term 'every' is not usually followed by noun phrases or plural nouns immediately. But there is a special structure which you can use. You can use [every + sigular noun + of + plural nouns], or [every + sigular noun + of + noun phrases].

Every slice of the pizza was a new taste of the heaven.

Every part of his house was decorated by he himself.


What 'Every' and 'All' Mean

  • 'Every' and 'all':

It has been said that the word 'every' refers to each individual in a group as a series of members, so we cannot consider it as a whole. But remember, the term 'every' as an adjective before singular nouns has the same meaning as the term 'all.' and it refers to a group as a whole.

Every person in this city is rich.

All people in this city are rich.

What They Refer to

  • 'Every' and 'all':

both are used to refer to people or things in general. We mean they are not used just to refer to people, or just to refer to things.

Take every opportunity of your job and use it as a step of improvement.

They rescued all the animals from the fire.


'All' and 'every' both are distributives. It might raise the question of what distributives are. 'Distributives' are words that refer to a group as a whole or individuals in a group.

All girls must have the dare to say their believes aloud.

He enjoyed every single moment of his life.


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