# English usage: Every vs all?

Today I was writing a simple message to be shown to the user whenever at least one field was not supplied.

Every/All fields must be supplied.

I'm in doubt about the usage of Every vs All, which one do you think is the most appropriate here ?

• "Every" is more appropriate if you want sure that no field remain excluded. Yes, it is strange; but English is not like logic.
– user19148
Commented Jul 9, 2012 at 20:23
• But every is singular, so the plural on fields has to go. Otherwise they're the same. Commented Jul 9, 2012 at 20:49

If you can get it, you should read Zeno Vendler's article "Each and Every, Any and All," (originally published in Vol LXXI, no. 282 of Mind, April 1962; and reprinted in his 1967 book Linguistics in Philosophy).

Vendler goes through this set of English quantifiers and shows their differences and similarities. I don't have my copy handy, so I'll just list a few differences here. These are all universal quantifiers, by the way.

• Although they are semantically plural, each and every are grammatically singular,
while all is grammatically plural.

• Each student has a passing grade.
• Every student has a passing grade.
• All students have a passing grade.
• each and all are subject to Quantifier-float, but every isn't.
(Note that Q-float with each requires a plural subject and verb, instead of singular.)

• Each student passed the course. ~ The students each passed the course.
• All students passed the course. ~ The students all passed the course.
• Every student passed the course. ~ *The student(s) every passed the course.
• as quantifiers, each, every, and all have quite different determiner constructions.

• all men, all the men, all of the men, all of them, all N of them (N > 2)
• each man, *each the men, each of the men, each of them, each one of them
• every man, *every the man, *every of the man, *every of them, every one of them.

... and, as lagniappe, all, with N = 2, is a quantifier and floats, but doesn't use all. Instead of *all two of them, we say both of them; instead of *The twins all left we say The twins both left.

• Great answer. It is a lesson of grammar. Thank you +1
– user19148
Commented Jul 9, 2012 at 20:50
• Unknown in British English: Lagniappe: Something given over and above what is purchased, earned, etc., to make good measure or by way of gratuity. (OED) Commented Sep 16, 2021 at 15:00
• – tchrist
Commented Mar 30 at 0:48

It's a matter of number agreement. Either of these are acceptable:

Every field must be supplied.

All fields must be supplied.

You could also say each field must be supplied.

I must say that I disagree with field and supplied together. The user is supplying information, not fields. May I suggest:

Each field/All fields must be completed?

• I understand your point of view though "supplied" here is the most used expression, I guess. Commented Jul 9, 2012 at 20:42
• I'd agreed with cornbread ninja. Supplied here indicates that the fields must be made available. For example, "When creating a form for your customers to fill out, make sure that all of these fields are supplied." However, I suppose you could say "All fields must be supplied with an answer."
– Dean
Commented Jul 10, 2012 at 1:35

I was gonna say what cornbread said, but then I realized he already said it. The word "supplied" is the reason for the ambiguity. If "completed" doesn't float your boat you could always put "Each field must contain a response".