Each and every are used in a similar way, but they have slightly different meanings. This can be confusing when learning English. Sometimes even native speakers confuse them! Both each and every can refer to a singular object.
- Each refers to one particular object or person.
- Every refers to a group of objects or people all together.
Here’s how you can use each and every, and some examples.
The word each refers to a single object or person. When you use each, you want to emphasize (focus on, stress, point out, make more important) the individual and not the group as a whole.
- Each writer has different ideas.
- Each egg is checked for quality.
- I love each of my children the same.
Each can also be used when there are only two objects in the sentence.
- I wear bracelets on each wrist. (there are only two wrists)
- The two of us would each like dessert.
Try to think of using each as being for specific objects in a group that stress the individual and not all the members of the group.
Every, unlike each, is used to refer to all the members (people) in a group.
- Every writer has a hard time getting published.
- Every family in Germany owns a car.
- Everyone must pay taxes.
Can you see how every focuses on all the people of the group, and not the individual? Think of the word every as a way to refer to a whole group. If you have a generalization about a group, you can use every.
Unlike each, every cannot be used to refer to two objects. If this ever comes up and you have to decide which word to use, pick the word each instead of (and not) every.
“Each and Every”
Sometimes it doesn’t matter if you use each or every.
- The child received each item on their Christmas list.
- The child received every item on their Christmas list.
In this case, the sentences both have the same meaning. Either word can be used.
The meanings are the same, yes, but the speaker chooses (decides, picks, selects, gets, uses) if they want to focus on the individual or the group.
Also, you can sometimes use each and every together. This places emphasis on this part of the sentence.
- The child received each and every item on their Christmas list.
- I want to thank each and every one of you for your help on the project.
- Each and every child is special.
This usage (using of the phrase) makes the main point of the sentence even stronger. It’s great to use if you want to make your point very strong.
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Erin Duffin lives in Hamburg, is an English teacher, blogger, yoga instructor, and would like to take this moment to thank each and every one of you for helping to make this blog and Bespeaking such a success! We wouldn’t be where we are without you! 🙂
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