# English usage: Every vs all?

Today I was writing a simple message to be shown to the user whenever at least one field was not supplied.

Every/All fields must be supplied.

I'm in doubt about the usage of Every vs All, which one do you think is the most appropriate here ?

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"Every" is more appropriate if you want sure that no field remain excluded. Yes, it is strange; but English is not like logic. – user19148 Jul 9 '12 at 20:23
But every is singular, so the plural on fields has to go. Otherwise they're the same. – John Lawler Jul 9 '12 at 20:49

If you can get it, you should read Zeno Vendler's article "Each and Every, Any and All," (originally published in Vol LXXI, no. 282 of Mind, April 1962; and reprinted in his 1967 book Linguistics in Philosophy).

Vendler goes through this set of English quantifiers and shows their differences and similarities. I don't have my copy handy, so I'll just list a few differences here. These are all universal quantifiers, by the way.

• Although they are semantically plural, each and every are grammatically singular, while all is grammatically plural.

• Each student has a passing grade.
• Every student has a passing grade.
• All students have a passing grade.
• each and all are subject to Quantifier-float, but every isn't. (Note that Q-float with each requires a plural subject and verb, instead of singular.)

• Each student passed the course. ~ The students each passed the course.
• All students passed the course. ~ The students all passed the course.
• Every student passed the course. ~ *The student(s) every passed the course.
• as quantifiers, each, every, and all have quite different determiner constructions.

• all men, all the men, all of the men, all of them, all N of them (N > 2)
• each man, *each the men, each of the men, each of them, each one of them
• every man, *every the man, *every of the man, *every of them, every one of them.
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Great answer. It is a lesson of grammar. Thank you +1 – user19148 Jul 9 '12 at 20:50

It's a matter of number agreement. Either of these are acceptable:

Every field must be supplied.

All fields must be supplied.

You could also say each field must be supplied.

I must say that I disagree with field and supplied together. The user is supplying information, not fields. May I suggest:

Each field/All fields must be completed?

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I understand your point of view though "supplied" here is the most used expression, I guess. – utxeee Jul 9 '12 at 20:42
I'd agreed with cornbread ninja. Supplied here indicates that the fields must be made available. For example, "When creating a form for your customers to fill out, make sure that all of these fields are supplied." However, I suppose you could say "All fields must be supplied with an answer." – Dean Jul 10 '12 at 1:35

I was gonna say what cornbread said, but then I realized he already said it. The word "supplied" is the reason for the ambiguity. If "completed" doesn't float your boat you could always put "Each field must contain a response".

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