Each or Every

Each or Every

By Alena Lien, 

31 August 2020



"Each" and "every" are used to refer to individuals in a group or set.


"Each" refers to the individual thing or person in a group of two or more. This is followed by a singular noun.


"Every" refers to all the individual members in a group of three or more. This is also followed by a singular noun.



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Differences


1.   "Each" emphasises the individual in a group; "every" emphasises the group as a whole.


  • "Each member should contribute to the group meetings."

  • "Every member should contribute to the group meetings."



2.   "Each" can also be used as an adverb.


  • "The skirts cost $10 each."

  • "There should be five pages in total - please take one of each."



3.   Use "each" when there are only two objects.


  • "She wore rings on each hand."

Not - "She wore rings on every hand."



When there are three or more objects, "each" and "every" can be interchangeable.


  • "I ticked off each item on my grocery list."

  • "I ticked off every item on my grocery list."



4.   "Almost," "practically" and "nearly" should be used with "every."


  • "Almost every fortune cookie contains a fortune."

Not - "Almost each fortune cookie contains a fortune."


  • "Practically every household has a connected device."

Not - "Practically each household has a connected device."


  • "Nearly every seat was taken in the cinema."

Not - "Nearly each seat was taken in the cinema."



Although using "each" would be understandable in all of these examples, they would be grammatically incorrect.



5.   When using the preposition "of": "each of" and "every one of."


  • "Each of the group received a farewell gift."

  • "Every one of the group received a farewell gift."




Related expression


"Each and every" (or "each and every one of") -

This is a very common expression that is used to add emphasis.


  • "Each and every item has been sent, according to today's list."

  • "Each and every one of the flowers has its own colour and smell."