Word Forge

Is it everyone or every one?

So often selected at random, there’s a very simple rule to help you get every everyone/every one situation right.

‘Everyone’ is a pronoun. That’s a word that does the same job as a noun (a naming word) but makes life and language far more exciting by freeing you from having to use those exact words whenever you’re talking about them. So instead of saying ‘table’, ‘Mike’ or ‘the reader’ you can substitute ‘it’, ‘I’ and ‘you’ instead.

‘Everyone’ is one of those substitute words, a pronoun that describes a group of people:

  • Everyone arrived at the same time
  • Everyone waved their mobile phones in the air for the ballads
  • Everyone gathered in the hall

‘Every one’ is a noun and describes every individual within a group:

  • I opened the packet of biscuits and every one was broken
  • Every one of the runners achieved the qualifying time
  • I tried them all on and every one looked fabulous

Now, here’s an easy way to remember which is which: substitute ‘everyone’ or ‘every one’ for ‘each’. If it still reads correctly it’s ‘every one’. If it sounds daft, it’s ‘everyone’. Try it with the sentences above and you’ll see what I mean.


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