Good grief, it's a running gag (lady_ganesh) wrote in fandom_grammar,
Good grief, it's a running gag
lady_ganesh
fandom_grammar

Answer: "Each" vs. "Every"

semisweetsoul asked:

What is the difference in meaning and usage between usage between 'each' and 'every'?



Each means 'every one, individually.' It generally emphasizes individuality.

Goku took each peach and put it carefully in the box.


Every is between 'each' and 'all', basically treating the individual as part of a group. It also refers to recurring events.

"That stupid monkey ate every peach on the goddamned tree," Sanzo said.

"So?" Goku asked. "It's not like they don't grow back every year."


Sometimes, each and every are used the same way, with pretty much identical meanings:

"They took each of the victim's guns," Ziva reported.

"In fact," Tony said, walking into the office, "they took every gun in the house."


The differences normally come out in the way the word is used.
  • Each is used when you're referring to two of something, such as a gun in each hand.
  • Each is often used with 'of,' and can be used before a verb. "Each of the soldiers received medals" or "The soldiers each received medals."
  • Every is used to describe recurring events.

Every year around this time, Gibbs remembered the only wife he'd ever gotten along with.

Each of Gibbs' ex-wives had her own story. Abby sometimes wondered if she'd learn any of them.


In general, if you're thinking of "each part of the group," choose each. If you want to talk about "the group as a whole," choose every. And whichever word you use, make sure you use a singular noun ('it' instead of 'them.')

Each member of the party was surprised by the arrival of the Spanish Inquisition.

Every sperm is sacred.


Here are some more examples from the BBC.

Englishclub.com was invaluable in putting this one together. It's tricky!
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