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Example:

There is a specific school. Every student in that school can take an Art class. They have that right, but they may choose not to take.

What is the best way to say it by emphasizing that taking an Art class is something valuable that is normally not offered anywhere else, and every student in this school is equal ( I know this example is not very good)

Which one is the best ?

  • Students can take an Art class.
  • Each student can take an Art class.
  • Every student can take an Art class.
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1  
I'm not going to post an actual answer, but if I understand your question correctly, I would say that idiomatically the third version is most appropriate when you want to emphasise that - unlike at many other schools - every student has the option of taking an art class at this particular school. That's consistent with Jon saying that each focusses on what any given individual can do, whereas every focusses on the scope/availability of the Art classes themselves, within the context of that school. –  FumbleFingers Feb 19 '13 at 21:06
    
I dont know why this question get negative ratings. Here is the thing, I was writing something highly technical (so it is not about schools), and I made it simpler so people here can easily understand. –  Emmet B Feb 21 '13 at 8:12
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I don't know either, but apparently I'm the only upvoter. Jon's answer is fine - except it seems clear to me that in your specific context you actually want to focus on the collective availability, so every is should be the preferred word even though he doesn't explicitly say that. And imho it's a good question, because not everyone would automatically be aware of that fine distinction. Perhaps the three downvoters are so unaware of it they think the question is pointless because they don't recognise any difference. Give it time; you'll get more upvotes, I'm sure. –  FumbleFingers Feb 21 '13 at 16:43

2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Each and every are semantically distinct, but logically amount to the same thing in cases like these.

I'd favour each to focus on the individuals, every to focus on the scope, but that's a matter of choice in the face of two synonyms with slightly different nuances, not of correctness.

Leaving both out gives a sentence which could allow for exceptions. We would generally assume that it applied to every student, but it would also be technically correct if it did not.

The combination each and every is used to add very strong emphasis, the deliberate tautology underlining the point. We would use it only if there were something particularly remarkable to this, or in a refutation.

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Of your three choices, the first does not imply that all students are able to take an Art class. There is little semantic difference between the last two; however, the last reads better, and the middle option would perhaps be written: "Each of our students are able to take an Art class".

I'd probably phrase what you have tried to state as:

Every student has the option to take an Art class if they choose; however, it is strongly encouraged because [reason why it is worthwhile].

A worthwhile reason being, e.g., "because of the unique facilities we offer."

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2  
Normally, each takes a singular complement. –  Robusto Feb 19 '13 at 12:44
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I think you'd be well advised to steer clear of anywhere claiming "Each of our students are able to take an Art class". Since they're in the education business, you'd expect them to know that each is always singular –  FumbleFingers Feb 19 '13 at 22:18

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