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Are "everything" and "all" interchangeable in these two cases? I'm having a hard time choosing between them. 1) You must tell me all/everything about your holiday. 2)I am having a terrible day. All/Everything is going wrong.

  • Idiomatically, 'you must tell me all about your holiday' and 'everything is going wrong' are the more usual. 'Everything' is quantised; 'all' is not. – Nigel J Jan 28 '18 at 9:00
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They are interchangeable. As Nigel J mentioned in a comment, everything emphasizes a quantized all.

  • All is use most often when generalizing all of the parts of the whole–

    It therefore emphasizes the whole.

  • Everything emphasizes each part of the whole

    It therefore emphasizes each part. By the way, the every thing refers to every part. It is easy to remember that this is the quantized version this way.

In practice

Both are correct, but do you really want to know every detail of the holiday? Probably not. Choose "all".

1) You must tell me all/everything about your holiday.

Here, terrible is an extreme. It makes sense to emphasize every little darn thing that went to heck. In other words, it makes sense to quantize each thing that went wrong. Choose "everything".

2)I am having a terrible day. All/Everything is going wrong.

  • It’s also worth noting that all can often sound quaint or archaicising when used as a stand-alone subject, unless it’s quantified by a following relative clause: “All is wrong” sounds like something from out of the Bible, whereas “All I do is wrong” sounds like something you say in an argument with your significant other. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Jan 28 '18 at 9:32
  • I say ”All is good“ regularly, like as a response to ”how‘ve you been?“. It does not seem archaic to me. I am sure I‘d use it in other contexts. – Jonathan Komar Mar 18 '18 at 20:01
  • I think “all good” would be more common there; but note that I said can sound quaint or archaising. It isn’t necessarily, but it can easily be. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Mar 18 '18 at 20:18

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