“Each” and “every” are determiners used to refer to individuals in a group or set.

Overview
EachEvery
Emphasises the individualEmphasises the group as a whole
Determiner, adverb and pronounDeterminer
Use with two or more objectsUse when three or more objects
“Each of” + plural nouns“Every one of” + plural nouns
To say how often something happens
Usually with small numbersUsually with large numbers
Use with “almost,” “practically” or “nearly”

Differences

1.   Individuals or a group.

Although they are often interchangeable, “each” emphasises the individuals in a group and “every” emphasises the group as a whole.

  • Each member should contribute to the group meetings.”
  • Every member should contribute to the group meetings.”
  • Each new book gets a unique ID code when they get registered on the database.”
  • “Every book in the library should have a unique ID code.”
2.   “Each” can also be used as an adverb and a pronoun.

As an adverb, it can be put at the end of a clause or sentence.

  • “The skirts cost $10 each.”
  • “There should be five pages in total. Please take one of each.”

As a pronoun, it doesn’t have to be followed by a noun.

  • “There are three paintings in this series. Each is inspired by different stages of his life.”
  • “The rooms were all different. Each had its own unique theme.”
3.   Only use “each” when there are two objects.

With two objects, only “each” can be used.

  • “She wore rings on each hand.”
    Not – “She wore rings on every hand.”

With three or more objects, “each” and “every” are interchangeable.

  • “I ticked off each item on my grocery list.”
  • “I ticked off every item on my grocery list.”
4. With “of” – “Each of” and “every one of.”

“Each” can be followed by plural nouns and pronouns if it is also followed by “of.”

  • Each of the plants were carefully pruned and watered.”
  • “I was told each of them received a farewell gift.”

With “every,” we have to use “every one of.”

  • Every one of the plants was carefully pruned and watered.”
  • “I was told every one of them received a farewell gift.”
5. Use “every” to say how often something happens.
  • “I go to the gym every day.”
  • “There should be a bus that comes by every hour.”
6. Small or big numbers.

Although interchangeable, it is more usual to use “each” with small numbers and “every” with big numbers.

  • “When we inspected the house, each room had a different wallpaper.”
  • Each player gets to take an extra card at the start of every round.”
  • Every chip was carefully coated with seasoning.”
  • Every student deserves to be considered for scholarship.”
7.   “Almost,” “practically” and “nearly” should be used with “every.”
  • Almost every fortune cookie contains a fortune.”
    Not – “Almost each fortune cookie contains a fortune.”
  • “Practically every household has a connected device.”
    Not – “Practically each household has a connected device.”
  • “Nearly every seat was taken in the cinema.”
    Not – “Nearly each seat was taken in the cinema.”

Although using “each” would be understandable in all of these examples, they would be grammatically incorrect.


Original post: 31 August 2020

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