Posted by: Idioma Extra | February 15, 2012

Thursday’s Tidbit

All, Every, or the whole?

When you want pizza, do you ask for all the pizza? every pizza? or the whole pizza? Let’s look at the different contexts that each is used in.


All is used when referring to everything, something that is complete, or a complete duration of time. All is always followed by a singular noun or noun phrase. However, when all is followed by the the noun must be plural or noun count. It can refer to one or many things. Here are some examples:

 You need to give him all your money.
– My brother ate all the food.
– We had to work all day.
– We removed all the chairs.

The whole

The whole is similar to all and can be generally used interchangeably, but it refers to one singular thin, so it is always followed by a plural noun.  For example, in the example above, “My brother ate all the food,” all refers to every part of the meal: the chicken, the rice, the beans, the salad, etc. However, the whole can only be used for one thing, so you can’t say, “I ate the whole food,” it would have to be something more specific like, “I ate the whole chicken.” Here are some more examples:

– They painted the whole car.
– I had to watch the whole movie.
 We went on vacation for the whole week.


Every is used when referring to every individual part of the whole. Unlike “all,” it is always followed by a singular noun. Here are some examples:

– He goes to school every day of the week.
– The teacher collected every assignment.
– It’s impossible to count every hair on your head.

Check Yourself

Look at the following examples and underline the correct word. In some cases, both may be possible.

1. The technician had to fix (all / every) the computers in the department.

2. I need you to count (every / all) coin that you have.

3. I couldn’t eat (the whole / all) hamburger.

4. I try to exercise (every / all) month.

5. (Every / all) members of the group heard the noise.

6. I’m too tired to finish (the whole / all) assignment tonight.

7. (All / every) member of my family was invited.

8. Unfortunately, I need to work (every / all) week.

9. I lost (all / every) the files.

10. My boss told me to clean (the whole / all) the office.

Answers to last week’s Check Yourself!

1. He is supposed to get new glasses this weekend. FO (Future obligation)
2. She  is supposed to buy  a new cell phone. G or FO (Gossip or future obligation)
3. I am supposed to work this weekend. FO (Future obligation)
4. The new Jim Carrey movie is supposed to be really stupid. G (Gossip)
5. You are supposed to buckle your seat belt when driving. GR (General rule)
6. My father and I were supposed to be at home for dinner, but there was a big snowstorm. PO (Past obligation)
7. What time are you supposed to take the exam? FO (Future obligation)
8. Non-residents are supposed to leave the country every three months. GR (General rule)
9. You are supposed to wear business clothes to a job interview. GR (General rule)
10. That new Japanese restaurant is supposed to have the best sushi. G (Gossip)

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