Archive for March 24, 2010

the difference between words: all, whole, entire, each and every

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I recently had a request from one of the readers to explain the difference between the words: all, whole and entire. So that’s what I’m going to write about today, but I’d also like to include the words “each” and “every”.

The word “all” is used with countable or uncountable nouns to refer to 100% of many things. For example:

All of my furniture is from Ikea. (uncountable)

I bought all of my plates from ABC department store. (countable)

The words “whole” and “entire” mean 100% of one thing. It is used with countable nouns. For example:

I ate the whole pie by myself. I’m so full right now.

I spent the entire day watching TV and drinking beer. It was great!

The word “each” and “every” are very similar but have slightly different meanings. They are both used with countable nouns. The word “each” focuses on the individual parts that make up a collection of something, but “every” focuses on all the parts that make up a collection of something. For example:

Each of the stamps in my collection came from a different country.

Every stamp in my collection is very valuable.

Each person in my family is very special to me.

Every person in my family can play the piano.

In addition, we use “each” when we want to focus on the differences between things, and we use “every” when we want to focus on the fact that things are the same. For example:

I have many pins in my collection and each one comes from a different country.

I paid over $20 for every pin in my collection.

I hope this is clear to everyone. Please note that when the words “each” and “every” are followed by a verb in the present tense, it must have an “s”. Therefore, “each” and “every” follow the same grammar rules as “he”, “she” and “it”.

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