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Which alternative is correct (or better to use, if both are correct)

  1. Every American, Australian, and Canadian speak English

or

  1. Every American, every Australian, and every Canadian speak English

That is, should one place the word "every" before each object, or is it sufficient to place it once at the beginning of the sentence?

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  • Repeating "every" adds emphasis, but does not change the literal meaning at all. – Davo Mar 3 '20 at 22:05
  • "All" is more appropriate in this instance. "Every" is typically used with a singular verb. If you use "every" with a plural verb, you're implying they're all talking at the same time. – Spencer Mar 3 '20 at 22:34
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    As a side note, in the sense you're trying to convey, both statements are factually false, regardless of grammaticality. – Spencer Mar 3 '20 at 22:42
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    "Every" is singular, therefore it should be "speaks". – CJ Dennis Mar 3 '20 at 23:28
  • Many thanks, everyone. – Eilon Mar 4 '20 at 7:11
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It depends on the context. If you already used the word "every" a lot (before your sentence or after), you might want to go with the first one (to avoid repetition). Otherwise, it is okay to go with the second one.

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"Every", like its partner "each", is a singular pronoun. It's singular even with a list of groups, because "every" makes you consider each member of each group individually. As such, you should always use a singular verb when "every" is part of the subject.

Every American, Australian, and Canadian speaks English

and

Every American, every Australian, and every Canadian speaks English.

both have correct subject/verb agreement (even if they're both factually wrong). As stated by @Davo in the comments, the form with all the "every"s simply adds emphasis.

If you want to use a plural verb form, use the plural pronuon all:

All Americans, Australians, and Canadians speak English.

or

All Americans, all Australians, and all Canadians speak English.

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