It would seem as though this is incorrect, since we each only have one life.

Is my intuition correct that it should be everyone else's life and not everyone else's lives?


1 Answer 1


Everyone else's life would be correct. In this case everyone is a singular pronoun. (See this explanation of everyone being singular.) Else is just a determiner used after everyone.

Allow me a digression that I think you might find helpful when thinking about whether to use life or lives in similar sorts of construction. The most memorable explanation of whether to use a plural or singular word that I've ever encountered comes from the book Words Into Type (p. 357). Under the heading and subheadings of Nouns, Number, Singular with a plural possessive there is this clear explanation:

To avoid ambiguity a singular noun is often used with a plural possessive when only one of the things possessed could belong to each individual.

  • Manufacturing helps many people in the smaller cities to earn their living.

  • Forbes knew most of them by their first name.

  • Some of them could not pay their rent.

  • They eyed each other furtively and cursed beneath their breath.


  • Think of the last name of five pupils in the room.

  • The steam line ruptured, causing the death of seven longshoremen.

  • They doubled their efforts to discover the identity of two men who struck a man with their automobile and then fled.

Care must be taken not to apply the rule to the wrong noun.

Wrong: It is pretty clear that the smile on the face of the delegates, whenever they look at each other, is not a sincere one.

Right: ...on the faces of the delegates ... [ Smile is the noun the rule applies to.]

  • +1 A concise exposition, with authority, of a position I avoid in my own usage! Commented Sep 21, 2012 at 1:41
  • 1
    Unless all the delegates had one face.
    – Noah
    Commented Sep 21, 2012 at 5:45
  • @Noah; so ...on the faces of the delegates would clearly mean that, being politicians, they were all two-faced. :) Commented Sep 21, 2012 at 11:29

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