In the following statements all the individuals of a group are addressed for gratitude:

  1. Gratitude is owed to each member of the group.
  2. Gratitude is owed to every member of the group.
  3. Gratitude is owed to each and every member of the group.

Hence to ask which are the distinctive qualities of each, every and every and any ?

  • 3
    A dictionary might help: it would also clarify the difference between owe and own. Feb 15 '14 at 20:42
  • 1
    No, a dictionary won't help. Quantifiers are part of grammar, not the lexicon. You might want to read Zeno Vendler's famous article "Each and Every, Any and All". (BTW, the frozen idiom is each and every, not every and any) Feb 15 '14 at 20:45
  • 2
    And a google for that article brought me back here, where I'd already discussed it. Feb 15 '14 at 20:48
  • @John Lawler corrected each and every sentence, more gratitude owed :)
    – elm
    Feb 15 '14 at 20:48
  • Exciting to discover floating quantifiers; may the etymology of each and every reveal more insight into usage ?
    – elm
    Feb 15 '14 at 21:00

Following John's lead, I found this discussion of Vendler's Each and Every, Any and All (1962) in Madsen's blog:

Vendler describes the differences between each, every, and all in terms of collective reference vs. individual reference. His theory is that all is collective, while each and every are distributive.

We thus have differences like

  • You can buy each of these items for $5 (distributive)
  • You can buy all of these items for $5 (collective)

Every, on the other hand, can be seen as a quantification over all the distributive attributions so that "every is between each and all" in meaning (p. 77). We thus get — according to my intuitions — slightly more ambiguous examples with every:

  • You can buy every one of these items for $5

According to my intuition, this could lean towards both a collective ($5 in total) and a distributive reading ($5 per item).

  • 1
    Even more ambiguous with a simple noun following: You can buy each book for $5 // You can buy every book for $5 // You can buy all books for $5. Feb 16 '14 at 2:07

A quick inspection at the etymology of each and every, consider

reveals that each has its origins in Old English and is a short for ever alike, whereas every was originated in early 13c as a contraction of each and ever.

Following the sources depicted above, in Modern English, every conveys the same meaning as each, yet it strives for an emphasis on each singular item in a group.

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