Each and Every–What’s the difference?

Each vs. every is a common grammar issue, even for proficient writers, because let’s face it—they’re very similar words. Although both words refer to something that is singular, each refers to an individual object or person, while the term every refers to a group of objects or people lumped together as one. For example, consider the following sentences:

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Each vs. Every (Two Objects)

In addition, the word each is used when there are only two objects in question. Consider these examples:

Jessica wore anklets on each ankle.
Jessica wore anklets on every ankle.

Each vs. Every (More than Two Objects)

When the quantifier refers to more than two objects, each and every can sometimes be used interchangeably. Look at the sentences below:

The bride received each item on her registry.
The bride received every item on her registry.

Each and Every

It is common to see each and every used alongside one another for emphasis as illustrated in the following sentence:

The bride received each and every item on her registry.

Note that although this is a common usage, it may not be acceptable in formal writing.

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