English grammar

Module 14, Troublesome Words 1, Lesson 13:

Everyone vs. Every One

English grammar

The terms everyone and every one may look the same, but they are used in different contexts. Everyone, as one word, is a singular pronoun that refers to a group of people. It's synonymous with its sister pronoun, everybody. Remember, even though a group is made up of several members, everyone is always singular because you refer to those members as a single group. Everyone is used only for people, never animals or objects.

Everyone I know is coming to the pool party on Saturday.
Multiple people are coming to the party, but they are being treated as a single group.

These cookies are for everyone.
The cookies are for a group.

Every one, as two words, is a phrase that refers to the individuals that make up a group, not to the group as a whole. It is synonymous with the phrases every single one and each one. You can also use it for emphasis to give your sentence a little more "oomph." Just like everyone, every one is always singular. However, unlike everyone, every one can refer to anything, including people, animals, and objects.

I think every one of these cakes is delicious.
This sentence emphasizes that each individual cake in the group is delicious. You could simply say "These cakes are delicious," but it wouldn't have the same effect.

Every one of them is coming to the party.
This sentence also uses every one for emphasis. It's not just everyone who's coming to the party—it's every single person in the group.

Here's a little trick to help you remember the difference between everyone and every one:

When every and one join together (everyone), you are focusing on the group as a whole—the two words work together as a single unit.

Everyone laughed. (The group laughed.)

When every and one stand alone (every one), you are emphasizing individuals—the two words work separately.

Every one of them laughed. (Each person laughed.)

Still not sure about how to tell the difference? Use the following tips to help you figure it out.

Tip 1: When deciding whether to use everyone or every one, ask yourself two questions:

  1. Am I talking about the group as a whole or pointing out individuals within the group?
  2. Am I trying to emphasize something?

Sometimes these questions might be difficult to answer, but often a sentence's wording will provide you with hints about which term to choose. Sentences with everyone sound more general while sentences with every one sound a little more specific. Take a look at the following examples:

Everyone went to the party.
Every one of them went to the party.
I have lots of friends, and every one went to the party.

The first sentence basically means they all went, and communicates that the group acted in unison. Notice how the sentence sounds general, with no additional details. On the other hand, the second and third sentences mean each one went. Also, if you take another look at the third sentence, you'll see how every one emphasizes that each and every friend went to the party.

Tip 2: Use this chart as a shortcut.

Everyone Every one
Substitute with everybody Substitute with each one or every single one
Group as a whole Individuals in a group
Used in general, non-specific statements Used in emphatic* or more detailed statements
Refers only to people Refers to people, animals, or objects
Remember, both everyone and every one are always singular.

*Emphatic (adj.): used to describe a word or statement that is emphasizing something.

Tip 3: Say the sentence aloud.

Everyone is pronounced with more emphasis on every (EVERY one), but every one places more emphasis on one (every ONE). Also, because every one is used to add emphasis to a statement, it actually sounds like two separate words if you listen closely.

Practice What You've Learned

English grammar
Click the term that correctly completes each sentence.
It's important for (everyone) (every one) to follow instructions.
We're the only ones who haven't seen this movie. (Everyone) (Every one) else has gone already.
(Everyone) (Every one) of my twenty cousins made it to the family reunion.
Jaimie is a very kind person, and he tries to get along with (everyone) (every one).
Even though you will have many negative experiences in life, you can learn a useful lesson from (everyone) (every one) of them.
I hope you brought enough snacks for (everyone) (every one).
Can (everyone) (every one) see the board?
Leslie couldn't decide which puppy to buy. (Everyone) (Every one) of them was absolutely adorable!
Even though (everyone) (every one) thought we would lose the championship game, we played our hardest and won.
Even though (everyone) (every one) of us thought it was impossible to beat last year's champions, we played our hardest and won the game after all.