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Is “everyone” singular or plural?

Would the noun following "everyone's" be plural? For example:

Everyone's heart sank.

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Everyone is a pronoun and means every person or all people. In your example everyone's denotes the possessive form of everyone. Remember that in AmE, it's always singular not plural. So the word following it should always be singular not plural, too. Here are a few examples:

He got everyone's attention.

Everyone needs him. (not need)

Everyone likes him. (not like)

Everyone's mom was there. (not moms)

That said, everyone's is also the abbreviated form of everyone is.

Everyone's home for dinner means Everyone is home...

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  • I'm curious as to why you qualify the pronoun being singular with "in AmE". Is there a variation of English where this is not the case? Commented Aug 22, 2012 at 8:52
  • @aaamos: I think it's not the case in BrE. Grammar Girl gives a reference to Garner, B. Garner's Modern English Usage. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2003, pp. 320-1. and says: "if you’re in Britain, you don’t have to worry so much about everyone and everybody because sometimes they’re considered plural." grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/indefinite-pronouns.aspx
    – Noah
    Commented Aug 22, 2012 at 9:16
  • I'm pretty sure the reference you quote is about the usage of "everyone" with a plural pronoun rather than with a plural verb (e.g. "everyone has their own"), but the sentence isn't exactly well-phrased and somewhat misleading (usage of "everyone" with a singular verb and a plural pronoun doesn't imply that "everyone" is considered plural). I'll refrain from commenting on the name of the author or the domain of said reference. ;-) Happy to be proven wrong, but I'd still say that "everyone" is considered to be a singular noun in British and Australian English as well. Commented Aug 22, 2012 at 10:11
  • @aaamos: I am not sure. But do you think it would be better to remove the "in AmE" part from my answer and make it plain English?
    – Noah
    Commented Aug 22, 2012 at 10:31
  • Personally, I'd leave it out and see if anyone corrects it, but as I'm not 100% certain, I'm just as happy if you decide to leave it. :-) Commented Aug 22, 2012 at 11:39

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