7

Notes for context: I am a native BrEng speaker. I have read "Each of these is" vs. "each of these are", How does "each" change "are" to "is"?, and What should I use between "triple" vs. "all"? and I understand the general concept of "Each of them is" and how "each" always takes the singular.

Reading my daughter's bedtime story this evening, I came across the phrase "They each have a bag of equipment". It made me wonder why the following seems naturally (to me at least) to be true:

(Correct) Each of them has an X
(Correct) They each have an X
(Correct) Each of them is a Y
(Incorrect?) They each are a Y

I would never say (to use the examples from one of the posts I linked) "I have three pens. They each are green.", but "I have three pens. They each have a lid." is fine.

Is "to have" different from "to be" when it comes to using it with "each"?

  • Aside: some of these kids' stories are pretty mind-numbing. Got to think about something while reading them out loud! :-) – Vicky Oct 5 '16 at 20:22
  • 2
    When used adverbially like this, each means ‘per [noun]’, which makes sense with have (distributive possession), but not with be (distributive being?). You can see this even more clearly if you move it to the end of the sentence: “The kids have three apples each” vs. “*The kids are boys each”. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Oct 5 '16 at 20:48
  • @JanusBahsJacquet, that makes perfect sense. If you make it an answer rather than a comment I can upvote and accept! – Vicky Oct 6 '16 at 8:30
2

Janus Bahs Jacquet answered this perfectly in a comment but didn't respond to my request to re-post the comment as an answer, so I'm re-posting it here as a CW answer.

When used adverbially like this, each means ‘per [noun]’, which makes sense with have (distributive possession), but not with be (distributive being?). You can see this even more clearly if you move it to the end of the sentence: “The kids have three apples each” vs. “*The kids are boys each”.

-2

I understood "is" is singular and "are" is plural.

Each one of them is

All of them are

  • I've edited my answer for formatting and it appears to not be separating onto separate lines. – user200494 Oct 12 '16 at 3:40
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    You're answering a different question from the one I asked. I know that each as the subject of a verb takes the singular, as I said in the context at the start of the question. – Vicky Oct 12 '16 at 8:22
-3

The number 4 is indeed incorrect. They can all each have the same thing but to be the same thing, only each of them can be it, or all of them are it.

  • 1
    You're answering a different question from the one I asked. I know that each as the subject of a verb takes the singular, as I said in the context at the start of the question. – Vicky Oct 12 '16 at 8:22
  • I think you misread my answer. Not only I do not see any apparent formulated question, but there is also no difference opposing ' They each are green' and 'they each have a lid', in the sense both are in the same plural forms agreement. – Specialist Oct 13 '16 at 13:40
  • I think you could have misread the general aspect of my answer. There is nonetheless no difference opposing ' They each are green' and 'they each have a lid, Both verbs 'to be' and 'to have' are in the plural form. What is your question? – Specialist Oct 13 '16 at 13:50
  • My question is "Is "to have" different from "to be" when it comes to using it with "each"?" as I wrote in the final line, and in the subject of the question. The difference between "they each are green" and "they each have a lid" is that the former sounds all kinds of wrong, whereas the latter sounds perfectly natural. – Vicky Oct 13 '16 at 15:11
  • Your question seemed very much about usage the usage 'each.' are there any difference between the verbs to be and to have really your question? I – Specialist Oct 15 '16 at 9:23

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