All

'All' has many functions in the English language. In this lesson, we will take a look at its uses and learn more about it.

How to Use "All" in the English Grammar

All is used widely in English language, if you have ever wondered how to distinguish its uses, take a look at this lesson:

Functions of 'All'

1. 'All' as a Determiner

Use

All as a determiner or pre-determiner is used to modify nouns or noun phrases. It is used in different cases, take a look:

  • All is used to show the whole/entire amount, quantity, or extent of something. Like:

He was drinking all night.

the whole night

He'll give you all the help he can.

'All' is a pre-determiner.

That was the best thing of all time.

  • All is used to indicate the whole number or sum of something. In this case, it is used with a plural noun or pronoun. For example:

It was nice to see her again after all these years.

I have 30 books, all my books are for sale.

  • All as a determiner or pre-determiner is used to indicate every member or part of something. In this case, it is used with a plural noun or pronoun. For example:

All my family were there.

'All' is a pre-determiner.

All ages are allowed to watch this movie.

She has to think about all kinds of people.

every kind of people

  • All is used to indicate the manner or method in which something is done. It has a similar meaning to 'as much... as possible.' Like:

She spoke in all seriousness.

She spoke as much seriously as possible.

They looked at me in all anger.

  • All is used to show something or someone has only some quality, feature, etc. Like:

I can't drink that, it's all alcohol!

It only has alcohol.

She is all legs.

She might have long, ugly legs.

for all

For all can be used before nouns and means in spite of. Take a look:

She loves him, for all his mistakes.

Position in a Sentence

If all is a determiner, it comes before nouns or noun phrases, if it is a pre-determiner, it is placed before determiners. Look:

She loves him, for all his mistakes.

'All' is a pre-determiner because 'his' is a determiner.

I can't drink that, it's all alcohol!

'All' is a determiner.

2. 'All' as a Pronoun

Use

All as a pronoun is used to refer to a noun it replaces. It shows the entire number, quantity, or amount. Look:

All that I want to know is whether you called me or not.

all = everything

She told us all.

It was all (that) I could do.

Position in a Sentence

All as a pronoun replaces the noun it refers to. As a result, it can be the object or the subject of the sentence. Look:

It's all that I wanted to say.

'All' is the object.

All that I want to know is this.

'All' is the subject.

Tip!

When 'all' is a pronoun, it can come with both singular and plural nouns. When 'all' refers to a group of people/things as a unified whole, it comes with a singular verb, but when 'all' refers to multiple groups of items, objects, people, etc. it must be accompanied by a plural verb. Look below:

All is well.

Here, the speaker has considered everything as a unified whole.

All are well.

Here, we can infer that the speaker was referring to different people, objects, animals, plants, etc. in a particular area.

3. 'All' as an Adverb

Use

All as an adverb is used to add information to the verb, adjective, or another adverb. All can be used in these cases:

  • All as an adverb means 'entirely or completely.' For example:

She sat all alone.

She has traveled all around the world.

'Around' is an adjective.

  • All is often used to make a sentence more forceful, look:

I'm all in.

His word was all out of question.

  • All is used to indicate a tie score. Like:

The score is 7 all.

The game ended in a 5 all.

  • All comes before adjectives to mean 'very, extremely.' Take a look:

The kids got all happy.

Very happy

Position in a Sentence

All as an adverb is used before adjectives or other adverbs or after verbs to modify them. Look:

The game ended in a 5 all.

Here, 'all' modifies the verb.

The kids got all happy.

Here, 'all' modifies the adjective.

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