Using words such as Every, Each, All, Some, Any etc. – Explicated
Each of you is responsible for the work, or should it be Each of you are responsible for the work. I can see the blank looks and I fully empathize. English grammar is tough nut to crack. You might even be like Heck! What difference does it make, so long as I get my meaning across?
Not so simple. For some of us, grammar plays a major role for examinations. Good grammar also counts at work . Though English comes naturally to native speakers of the language, grammar gaffes are common even among them, believe it or not.
Poor grammar is a sign of sloppiness. Adherence to grammar rules demonstrates that you are more organized, a quality that all employers seek.
Now that I’ve dinned the importance of it all, let’s get into the nitty gritty of using words like Every, Each, All, Some, Any and so on. By the way, they are Indefinite pronouns, not just words.
Every, Each, All, Some, Any etc. – Explained
Each and Every
- I want each and every one of you to listen carefully to me.
Wrong or right? This is what I call a classic case of redundancy. Each and Every mean the same thing. So, why do you have to repeat it? Use any one of them:
- I want each of you to listen carefully to me.
- I want every one (everyone) to listen carefully to me (Everyone of you is clearly wrong).
Each conveys a meaning of singularity, whereas Every conveys the meaning of All.
- Each car pollutes the street (Wrong, because we want to include all cars here)
- Every car pollutes the street (Right, because Every conveys the meaning of all)
Singular or Plural
Now, we come to the nub of the issue. Are Each and Every singular or plural? I’ve already mentioned that Each implies singularity and Every implies plurality. But when used in a sentence, both of them take the singular verb:
- Each of the girls is carrying a bag (Not ‘are carrying’).
- Every girl is carrying a bag (Not ‘are carrying’)
Both Each and Every are always followed by a singular verb like ‘is’ not ‘are’; ‘has’ not ‘have’; ‘comes’ not ‘come’; etc.
- Each of them comes at a different time (not ‘come’)
- Each comes at a different time (not ‘come”)
- Every one comes at a different time (not ‘come’)
All is used for Generalization or when an action is applicable to everyone. I can see some confusion here. You might ask what is the difference between All and Everyone? That’s a valid question, thanks for asking.
All and Everyone mean the same.
- All are here.
- All of us are here.
- Everyone is here (But ‘Everyone of Us is here’ – Wrong)
- All the fish in the pond are dead.
- Every fish in the pond is dead.
So, you notice that All and Every can be interchanged. But there’s still some difference between the two. Have you spotted it? Spot on!! Note that All takes the plural verbs like ‘are’ whereas Every takes the singular verb like ‘is’. That’s the difference. So, though All and Every mean the same, All is considered a plural pronoun and Every is considered a singular pronoun. Now, that was pretty simple to understand.
Firstly, let’s see the similarities between the two pronouns. Both these pronouns are used when you don’t know or don’t want to specify a fixed amount. But the difference between the two is that ‘Any’ is generally used in a negative sentence, though not always. Any is used in a positive sense when it doesn’t matter which one.
- I saw seven dogs in the park.
- I saw some dogs in the park (don’t know exactly how many)
- I did not see any dogs in the park.
- Do you know anyone here (not ‘any one’)
- I did not hear anything (not ‘any thing’)
- Anyone can do this (It doesn’t matter who)
- You can sit anywhere (It doesn’t matter where)
- I can eat anything you have (It doesn’t matter what)
Singular or Plural
Now that we’ve got that sorted out, let’s move on to whether Any and Some are Singular or Plural.
- Is/Are anyone ready to do the work?
- Is/Are Someone there in the house?
- Some of the girls is/are ready to help.
- Some of the milk has/have gone bad.
I think this one is obvious. You’re absolutely right! Any is singular and Some is plural. But ‘someone’ means only one person, so it becomes singular.
- Is anyone ready to do the work?
- Is someone there in the house?
- Some of the girls are ready to help (Here, girls are countable, so Some takes plural verb)
- Some of the milk has gone bad (Here, milk is uncountable, so some takes a singular verb)
Ready to tackle a quiz? Here we go:
#1. Julie plays basketball each/every Saturday morning.
#2. Sarah has read each/every magazine in our library.
#3. This book has three parts and every/each of them has five sections.
#4. There is a flight to London each/every hour.
Answers: 1 – every; 2 – every; 3 – each; 4 – every
#1. All/Everyone of us enjoyed the party.
#2. All/Everyone has faults.
#3. All/Everyone of us have faults.
#4. When the bell rang, all/everyone left the room.
#5. The students did well in the exams. All/Everyone in the class passed.
#6. You want me to do all/everything for you.
Answers: 1 – All; 2 – Everyone; 3 – All; 4 – Everyone; 5 –Everyone; 6 – Everything
#1. I need a vehicle and some/any help.
#2. Do you know any/some good plumber?
#3. He does not have some/any good friends.
#4. I’ve got any/some news today.
#5. I don’t have any/some news today.
#6. She needs any/some help with her homework.
#7. Do you have some/any idea about where he is?
Answers: 1 – Some; 2 – Any; 3 – Any; 4 – Some; 5 – Any; 6 – Some; 7 – Any
Most pronouns are very clear. That is, there’s no confusion about whether it is singular or plural. For instance, He is singular; They is plural; We is plural; I is singular and so on.
But indefinite ones like Each, Every, All, Some and Any are rather tricky. The thumb rule here is that if it applies to all or even some in the category – it is plural. If the pronoun applies to only one or nothing – it is singular.
Until next time then!!