Referencias gramaticales

Quantifiers: all, every, each, both, neither, either

Meaning and use: all, every each

Quantifiers are words that give us information about the number or amount of something. All, every and each mean the whole number of something in a group, but there are differences in how we use them. In this unit we look at how to use them with nouns.

All or All the is followed by a plural or uncountable noun. Every and each are followed by a singular noun.

  • All (the) students have their own rooms.
  • All (the) information is on the website.
  • Every/Each student has their own room. (OR has his/her own room.)

Every and each can often be used in the same place, but we prefer every when we are thinking about the whole number in a group, and each when we are thinking about the members of the group as individuals.

  • I love every painting by that artist.
  • Each painting is unique.

For emphasising every single one, we must use everynot each.

  • You’ve eaten every chocolate in the box!

For only two things, we can use each but not every.

  • In baseball, how many players are there in each team?

Alland each but not every can be followed by of and a plural noun or pronoun. Notice that each of with a plural noun or pronoun is followed by a singular verb.

  • All of the students have their own rooms.
  • Each of them has their own room.

Form

With plural noun

  • All (the) students
  • All of the students
  • Each of the students

With plural pronoun

  • All of them
  • Each of us

With uncountable noun

  • All (the) information
  • All of the information

With singular noun

  • Every student
  • Each student

Take note: articles

We don’t use an article (the, a/an) before every or each.

  • Every painting is unique.
  • NOT: The every painting is unique.

Take note: possessive and demonstrative adjectives

We don’t use every before possessive adjectives (his, her, etc) or demonstrative adjectives (these, those).

  • Tarantino’s a brilliant director. I’ve seen all his films.
  • NOT: I’ve seen every his films.

Meaning and use of both, neither, either

We use both (of), neither (of) and either (of) to talk about two people or things. Both means this one AND the other. Neither means NOT this one AND NOT the other. Either means this one OR the other. Either is used mainly in questions and negative sentences. Here are some examples of how to use them with nouns:

  • I like both pictures. / I like both of the pictures.
  • Neither picture is right for the room. / Neither of the pictures is right for the room.
  • She didn’t buy either picture in the end. / She didn’t buy either of the pictures in the end.

We often use both… and, neither… nor,and either… or.

  • She plays both the violin and the guitar.
  • Neither me nor my brother are married.
  • Should I wear either this shirt or that one?

Form

With plural noun

  • both pictures
  • both the/these pictures
  • both of the/these pictures
  • neither of the/these pictures
  • either of the/these pictures

With plural pronoun

  • both of them
  • neither of them
  • either of them

With singular noun

  • neither picture
  • either picture

Take note: verbs

After neither (of) the verb is always positive. It can be singular or plural after neither of.

  • Neither of these answers is/are correct.

But after neither + noun the verb is always singular.

  • Neither answer is correct.

After both (of) the verb is always positive and plural. We don’t use both in negative structures.

  • Both of these answers are wrong.
  • NOT: Both of these answers are not correct.