Each and every

These two words are often very similar and a source (fuente de) of confusion. Both words are third person singular. Let´s start with “each”.

“Each” is usually used with a small number of objects or people, and where we want to emphasize (enfatizar) each thing or person individually (uno por uno). Examine these:

  • Each student will receive a book.
  • Each book contains examples of the errors with pronouns.
  • Each of the directors in Mr. Morales´ company drives a Porsche.
  • Mr. Morales also has two Ferraris. Each one (cada uno) is red.
  • Each of the politicians in the meeting was given a pink hat.
  • Each politician in the meeting was given a pink hat.

Please note that when the subject is plural (directors, politicians) we have “each of”. If the subject is singular, no “of”, as in “each dish is sugar-free”, and “each politician in the meeting…”

Now “every”. It should be used when there are three of more of the activity, mortals (mortales) or things, and we want to emphasize “the group”. Examine these:

  • Every student in the class will receive a book.

Here the emphasis is in total – we are thinking of the students as a group.

  • You should drink organic vegetable juice every morning.

“Every” day, always, is the emphasis.

  • Ricardo plays the piano every morning.
  • Every politician in Spain has the use of a free car.

Here “every” is correct because the number is greater than 3, and we are referring to politicians as a group. Please note that it is wrong to say “every of the politicians…”

One further thing. “Every” is used for abstract ideas, and “each” is not so used. Consider these:

  • Mr. Morales has every reason to believe that a hard Brexit will happen.

You could write “…has reason to believe that…. “Every” is for emphasis on the idea, and also suggests that Mr. Morales has many reasons to believe in a hard Brexit. “Each” in this context would be wrong.