I saw the following sentence in a journal paper.

The base stations, users, and relays are each equipped with one antenna.

I'm sure it means that each of them is equipped with one antenna. However, I can't understand how the word 'each' is placed there in the sentence above. I've learned that 'each' acts as a determiner or a pronoun depending on the sentence. Hence, as far as I am concerned, it should be written as

Each of the base stations, users, and relays is equipped with one antenna.


The base stations, users, and relays are equipped with one antenna, respectively.

However, I've seen the structure of the first sentence several times. Accordingly, I felt there is a sentence structure or grammar that I don't know. Please explain how 'each' can be placed between be verb and past participle.

  • 1
    Lexico says that each can also be an adverb. And it's certainly acting very much like one here. Aug 8, 2020 at 14:29
  • 1
    "Each" is certainly not an adverb. It's a determinative in a fused-head noun phrase, where it is functioning as a quantificational adjunct in clause structure, see here: link
    – BillJ
    Aug 8, 2020 at 17:58
  • Do they mean "user workstations" or "user devices"? The idea of people each being equipped with an antenna like 1950s drawings of aliens seems bizarre.
    – BoldBen
    Aug 9, 2020 at 11:36
  • @BoldBen They mean user devices.
    – Danny_Kim
    Aug 9, 2020 at 12:25

3 Answers 3


The entry on each in Collins Cobuild English Usage (p204) notes in the section 'used after subject':

Each is sometimes used after the subject of the clause, For example, instead of saying 'Each of them received a new pairs of boots', you can say 'They each received a new pair of boots'.

The CCEU then goes on to state:

This type of construction is often used to indicate that an amount relates to each member of a group separately and not to the whole group.

The CCEU entry concludes by saying:

When you are talking about an amount like this, you often put each at the end of the clause.

So, an alternative to the sentence you quote is:

The base stations, users, and relays are equipped with one antenna each.

  • Thank you. I understood your answer, and the last one is also acceptable for me. This is rather familiar than others. By the way, according to the comment "used after subject", do I have to use as follows instead of the first sentence (... are each equipped ...) in my question? "The base stations, users, and relays each is equipped with one antenna."
    – Danny_Kim
    Aug 8, 2020 at 11:46
  • 2
    @Danny_Kim. Swan in the entry on each in Practical English Usage (page 170) says: "When each refers to the subject, it can also go with a verb in mid-position like some adverbs." Swan gives several examples, including: You are each right in a different way. This is equivalent to they are each equipped.... (Note that you need to use the plural are). Putting each before are does not sound so natural with the long subject of your sentence.
    – Shoe
    Aug 8, 2020 at 12:06

Each (pronoun) acts as a distributive pronoun, i.e. almost adverbially with the meaning "individually"


Each (pron.)

B 2. Used so as to indicate distribution of a plurality of things among the members of a set.

a. Distributing a plural subject or object (e.g. the labourers will each receive a reward).

OE West Saxon Gospels: Matt. (Corpus Cambr.) xx. 9 Þa onfengon hig ælc his pening. [then each received his penny]

1945 Times 13 Feb. 4/1 The forces of the three Powers will each occupy a separate zone of Germany.

2004 S. Rothstein Predicates & Their Subj. x. 313 Four farmers have each built a fence.

  • This is the right answer. Let me note that other pronouns can come between the auxiliary verb and the verb — he was himself equipped with a camera. Aug 13, 2020 at 14:26

The base stations, users, and relays are each equipped with one antenna.

"Each" is not a pronoun, despite what some people (and most dictionaries) claim. It actually belongs to the word class (part of speech) determinative.

It is separable and not part of the subject NP but a quantificational adjunct in clause structure. The adjunct has the form of a fused-head NP.

We know that this "each" is an adjunct because when the verb is an auxiliary, it preferentially follows rather then precedes it, as it does in your example.

Note that the same applies to the determinatives "all" and "both".

Source: CGEL (Huddleston & Pullum) p428

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.