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Which of the two is correct: “Every cell phone does that, doesn’t it?” or “Every cell phone does that, don’t they?”

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    "Every" is a distributive determiner as reflected by the fact that it selects a singular 'head', hence "Every student is here", not *"Every students are here". "Cell phone" has singular "phone" as head, so singular tag "doesn't it?" is the one you want; (note that you can say "All the cell phones do that, don't they?)
    – BillJ
    Apr 21, 2017 at 8:38
  • @BillJ Could you maybe convert your comment into an answer so that I can accept? Apr 23, 2017 at 20:53

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Every cell phone does that, doesn’t it? or Every cell phone does that, don’t they?

"Every" is a distributive determiner as reflected in the fact that it selects a singular 'head', hence "Every student is here", not *"Every students are here".

"Cell phone" has singular "phone" as head, so singular tag "doesn't it?" is the one you want. Note that you can use a plural tag with "all": All the cell phones do that, don't they?.

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  • -1: So you would recommend Every girl does that, doesn't she? That sounds really wrong, and I think it sounded wrong before the move towards gender neutrality in English. Feb 6, 2021 at 17:59
  • @PeterShor Must be a US/UK split there. Sounds fine to me. Feb 9, 2021 at 11:18

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