All or everyone?

all or everyoneSometimes, knowing the difference between all and everyone can be confusing.

Do you know which sentence is correct?

1) Everyone is having a good time.

2) All people are having a good time.


If you chose number one, good! Usually we do not use all to mean everyone when talking about members of a group like in the above example. However, you can say ‚All of us are having a good time‘ or ‚All of the people here are having a good time‘ (but not ‚everybody of us‘). More on that later….

Both all and every refer to the total number of something. All refers to the complete group, whereas every focuses on each individual person, place or thing within the group.

The German word ‚alle‘ in the sense of ‚jedermann‘ is ‚everybody‘ in English.


  • Everyone is having a good time. (Alle haben eine gute Zeit.)

Grammar point – all and everyone

All and every are quantifiers – they give information about the number or amount of something. Everyone, everybody, everything, and everywhere are indefinite pronouns – pronouns that do not refer to any particular person, amount or thing.

As you can see in the below examples, plural verbs are used with all and singular verbs are used with everyone.


– If you are talking about members of a group in general, use a noun after all.


  • All people are valuable. (However, we normally use everyone when referring to humans in general, e.g. Everyone is valuable.)
  • All children need supervision.

– If you’re talking about members within a specific group of people, use all + (of) the + the group. The ‚of‘ is optional.


  • All (of) the people here are wearing red. (OR  Everyone here is wearing red.)
  • All (of) the children in the neighborhood play well together.

– We can use all and all of before articles, demonstratives and possessives.


  • All of the workers have gone home. (article)
  • You ate all of that!? (demonstrative)
  • All of their children have gone to university. (possessive)

– All can be used alone as a pronoun with the same meaning as everyone. In this sense, it is usually used before the verb to be. This makes a sentence more formal.


  • All are welcome. (Everyone is welcome.)
  • All were surprised by the news. (Everyone was surprised…)

– All can be an adverb when it refers to the subject of a clause.  It is normally in between the subject and verb, after a modal verb or first auxiliary verb or after be when it’s the main verb.


  • Her paintings all look the same to me. OR  (All of her paintings look…)
  • We all know what you’re thinking. OR  (All of us know…)
  • These shoes could all have been recycled.
  • They are all happy to be back home.


– Everyone refers to all the people within a particular group.


  • After everyone had gone home, Mary was the only one left in the office.
  • Everyone in my class passed the test.  (NOT  All people in my class…)

– When referring back to everyone later in a sentence, use the pronouns they, their or them.


  • Everyone thinks they are the best.
  • Everyone here can find their own seat.
  • Everyone is answerable to themselves.

Instead of the ’singular they‘ pronoun, you can also use he or she, his or her, or his or hers. Using the singular pronouns, together or choosing between them, is more formal and sounds a bit outdated. It is easier, faster and far more common to use the ’singular they‘ pronoun and it’s forms.


  • Everyone thinks he or she is the best.
  • Everyone here can find his or her own seat.
  • Everyone is answerable to him or herself.

– Everyone can be used as a subject an imperative.


  • Everyone stand up!
  • Everyone – look at me!

– Everyone and everybody mean the same thing, with little difference in formality. Though everyone can be a little more formal, they are often used interchangeably.