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Practically every part/each part of the banana tree is used by man.

Both seem fine to me. But the answer given is "every part"

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  • Each part may be useful, but "practically every" means almost 100%, which is what the sentence is saying. Nov 24, 2022 at 13:36

2 Answers 2

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Both are grammatical, but "every" is more pragmatically appropriate for the example sentence.

"Each" is typically used to emphasize that something repeated or parallel is separately true of multiple members of some category, with a focus on their separateness. For instance:

The exterminator carefully inspected each part of the banana tree for signs of infestation.

...or...

Each part of the banana tree contributes in its own way to the overall survival of the plant.

By contrast, "every" emphasizes the absoluteness of the statement, the fact that there are no counterexamples. In your example sentence:

Practically every part of the banana tree is used by man.

...what's being communicated is that the banana tree is an exceptionally useful plant, more so than is typical for plants, which usually have at least a few useless parts. For this purpose, "every" is more appropriate, since it emphasizes how many parts of the plant are useful. "Each" is less appropriate, even though it's not strictly incorrect, because the sentence isn't trying to emphasize that something is separately true for each individual part of the plant.


Also, "practically every [noun]" is a somewhat lexicalized stock phrase in English, while "practically each [noun]" is not, so the latter sounds slightly off to my ear. I don't have any kind of justification for this part of the answer, as both should be equally grammatical, just my intuition as a native speaker.

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  • What does "pragmatically appropriate" mean?
    – David
    Nov 24, 2022 at 12:49
  • @David What I meant is "effective at communicating the intended speech act" (as in this sense of "pragmatic").
    – A_S00
    Nov 24, 2022 at 18:02
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“Practically each part” is not English usage

This can be felt by native speakers, and corroborated by consulting the Google Books ngram for the two phrases.

The same pattern is seen when “part” is omitted from the ngram query. The reason would seem to be that each is treated as an absolute qualifier, whereas every is not. This may seem illogical as “each part” and “every part” may mean the same thing in isolation. However “practically every” — or better, “almost every” — is equivalent to “almost all” and is a quite logical construct, conveying the general idea of most, but not all parts. Each, however, refers to individual parts (each one), which are logically indivisible, so “almost each” is invalid.

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