ALL (OF) = the whole or complete group
EVERY = each item / object / person in the group
Note that ALL is used with plural nouns while EVERY and EACH are used with singular nouns.
ALL or EVERY? Compare the following example sentences:
- All my friends love pizza. / Every friend I have loves pizza.
- All dogs love meat. / Every dog loves meat.
- She knows all the songs written by Justin Bieber. / She knows every song written by Justin Bieber
- I’ve visited all (of) the countries in Europe. / I’ve visited every country in Europe.
- I’ve watched all (of) the film last night. / I’ve watched every film with Tom Hanks.
Note you cannot say:
- I watched every the film last night.
- Every my friend loves Malta.
It is not possible to use words (i.e. Determiners) as the, a/an, this / that, yours, his, etc. with EVERY or EACH.
Difference between all and every
In the examples above ALL and EVERY are used in a way that the sentences have the same meaning. But this is not always the case. Compare the following:
- All the lesson was boring. (One lesson. The complete or whole lesson was boring.)
- Every lesson was boring. (3 or more lessons. There were some lessons and they were all boring.)
- The children ate all the cake. (One cake. The children ate the complete cake.)
- The children ate every cake. (3 or more cakes. The children ate all the cakes.)
All is typically used with plural and uncountable nouns. In examples 1 & 3 above, lesson and cake are uncountable.
Complete this online exercise below using ALL or EVERY.