Do you mix up everyone and every one every time you use them? Even though they seem interchangeable, they’re not. Keep reading to learn when everyone is correct, and when every one should keep the space between the words.
A Quick Trick to Tell the Difference
The trick to telling everyone and every one apart is the word of. If you use of after everyone, it is never correct. By contrast, every one is only correct when you use of after it.
Here are some examples:
- Incorrect: Everyone of you is special to me.
Correct: Every one of you is special to me.
- Incorrect: I’ve tried everyone of these appetizers.
Correct: I’ve tried every one of these appetizers.
- Incorrect: You’ve ignored everyone of the school’s rules.
Correct: You’ve ignored every one of the school’s rules.
Of is your key to understanding which phrase to use. But why does of make such a difference? It’s because the difference between everyone and every one is their part of speech.
Different Parts of Speech
So, which is correct: everyone or every one? Even though they use the same words, you can’t use everyone and every one in the same ways. One replaces nouns and noun phrases, while the other is a noun and modifier phrase.
Everyone: Indefinite Pronoun
Everyone is the correct word to use when you’re talking about a nonspecific group of people. It is an indefinite pronoun that takes the place of nouns and noun phrases in a sentence. Everyone always refers to people, never objects.
Here are some examples of how everyone replaces a noun phrase in a sentence.
- I’d like to thank all of my friends and family for attending our wedding.
I’d like to thank everyone for attending our wedding.
- Did you ask all the people in the department if they could make it to the meeting?
Did you ask everyone if they could make it to the meeting?
- Kyle, Anderson, Becky, and Louise agree that we should carpool to the restaurant.
Everyone agrees that we should carpool to the restaurant.
Even though everyone is talking about more than one person, it is always singular. Indefinite pronouns that end in -one (such as everyone and anyone) and -body (such as everybody or somebody) are singular. This can change the subject-verb agreement of the sentence if everyone replaces a plural noun.
Every One: Modifier + Noun
Every one is a noun phrase. One is the noun in the phrase and every is the modifier. It specifies that you are referring to each individual member of a group. A synonym for every one is each. That's another way you can test whether you should use everyone or every one in a sentence: replace it with each to see how it sounds.
- Every one of these posters has a typo.
Each of these posters has a typo.
- I checked with every one of my neighbors about my new RV.
I checked with each of my neighbors about my new RV.
- Make sure that every one of those gift baskets is labeled.
Make sure that each of those gift baskets is labeled.
- There is a gift certificate taped under every one of the banquet chairs.
There is a gift certificate taped under each of the banquet chairs.
Note that the word of follows each every one because you are specifying each member of a larger group (posters, neighbors gift baskets, and banquet chairs). Like everyone, every one is singular. But unlike everyone, it can refer to objects and not just people.
Everyone vs. Every One Quiz
Ready to challenge yourself? See if you can determine whether everyone or every one is the correct choice in these sentences.
- I asked __________ about the new changes to the website.
- __________ is talking about the new reality TV show.
- Ken read __________ of the applicants’ cover letters.
- Has __________ received an invitation to my birthday party?
- __________ of the potential voters expressed concern about the high unemployment rate.
- I want to speak to __________ of the people who sent in a complaint.
- __________ of my Christmas gifts was amazing.
- __________ on the third floor agrees that the radiator is too loud.
- Oliver bought __________ of these cars in cash.
- __________ of the hotel employees was happy to receive a raise.
How did you do? Check your answers at the bottom of the article.
If you’d like more grammar practice, try your luck with an extended English grammar quiz.
More Grammar Mix-Ups
The rules of grammar can be confusing when words sound and look the same. Clear up more misunderstandings with an article on used to versus use to. You can also check out examples of into versus in to with sentence examples and explanations.
Quiz Answers: 1. everyone 2. everyone 3. every one 4. everyone 5. every one 6. every one 7. every one 8. everyone 9. every one 10. every one