What is the Difference Between Each and Every?

What is the Difference Between Each and Every?

Are you one of those people who often ask: “What is the difference between each and every?” You know, the interesting thing about these determinants is that people think they actually know this disparity, but they do not. Now, how would you know if you really know the disparity? The answer is as simple as ABC – just keep reading. However, if you are honest enough to admit that you are having the same challenge, just know that it is a common grammar issue.

Definition of Each

Each is a determinant used to refer to one person or one thing. This means that you use itin a sentence when you are actually referring to a single item or person. With that being said, the definition of each will make more sense with some examples and their explanations.

  • Each of the presidential candidates is expected to defend his/her program at the live debate  
  • With each passing day, Hilary is getting more and more desperate
  • Each component of the machine has an important function

In all the sentences above, the items or individuals involved are being considered as separate entities or units. Indeed, this is the case even though they appear in groups. This is quite different from EVERY.

Definition of Every

EVERY is one of those English determinants that many still struggle to understand how they are used in sentences. While some of them will never admit that they don’t know how to use the terms, you can only notice that if you know how to use properly yourself. So, “every” is a determinant used to refer to lists or groups of things that are considered as one. The definition of every is something that many people find very difficult to understand. However, the following examples will help you catch the drift.    

  • The principal knows every student in the hostel
  • Every house in the neighborhood has a new look
  • Every team member is expected to do his/her best in the game

In all the sentences above, the number of items or people (student, house, and team member) is greater than one. However, the words are singled out, hence the use of the word, EVERY.

Each vs Every Comparison Table

Basis for ComparisonEachEvery
MeaningA term used to represent one item or personA word used to single out an item or a person in a group
Number of Items More than one More than two
Followed By “Of,” “verb” or “noun”Usually followed by noun and NEVER followed by “Of”

Conclusion of the Main Difference Between Each vs Every

At this point, it is important that we differentiate between the two determinants by focusing on how they should be used and shouldn’t be used. We must establish here that each vs every will be a bit difficult for some people to comprehend, but we will simplify that by using examples. Indeed, there is a difference between them. On the other hand, there are many similarities. We will explore the two.

With respect to similarities, here are some examples:

  • Each person submits his assignment to the head teacher
  • Every student submits his assignment to the head teacher

Notice that in the sentences above, someone has given an instruction, asking all the students to submit their assignments to the head teacher.  Given that they are both determinants, the next pronoun is “his” and NOT “their.”

Coming to the differences, here are some examples:

  • Each of the houses in the street has a new look
  • Every house in the street has a new look

Unlike the previous examples where the next word was a noun, we have a different context here. Basically, there is “of” coming after “each.” Well, “every” doesn’t accept “of” in English language no matter the context. Instead, you should use “any” in place of “every.”

For instance:

  • Every of the boys could have stolen your money
  • Any of the boys could have stolen your money  

In addition, DO NOT use the two determinants together in the same sentence. For instance,

  • Each and every one of us is expected to attend the gala night

The sentence above is grammatically ambiguous and MUST be avoided.

You should prefer “each of” or “everyone of” and then the next verb MUST be a singular present tense. For instance,

  • Each of you is expected to contribute $100 to the project
  • Every one of you is expected to contribute $100 to the project

At this point, we have explained all there is to know about the two words. So, you can now practice and use them correctly.