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These pronouns, which seem to behave the same way, confound me. I'm always scratching my head whenever I come across them in a diagram.

1) All the students can go. 
2) All of the students can go.
3) They all can go.
4) The students can all go.

These sentences all have the same semantic meaning, but what is the function of "all/both/each" in these examples?

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    That's because they're Quantifiers, not just pronouns. One thing that all, both, and each can do is appear in their normal position modifying a noun phrase, or appear in an adverbial position before the main verb or (after the first auxiliary verb if there is one). This rule is called "Q-Float". Only some quantifiers can float, however; each and all float, but every and any don't. Oct 16, 2015 at 19:27
  • Huh? There is no occurrence of both or each in any of those examples.
    – Drew
    Oct 16, 2015 at 19:47
  • @Drew Each and both function the same way. You can replace all with both or each in the examples, i.e "They can each go".
    – William
    Oct 16, 2015 at 19:50

1 Answer 1

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In a comment, John Lawler wrote:

That's because they're Quantifiers, not just pronouns. One thing that all, both, and each can do is appear in their normal position modifying a noun phrase, or appear in an adverbial position before the main verb or (after the first auxiliary verb if there is one). This rule is called "Q-Float". Only some quantifiers can float, however; each and all float, but every and any don't.

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