every - definition and synonyms


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Every is generally used before a singular countable noun. The only exceptions are at Sense 2, where every can be used in phrases like ‘every three hours’, and at Sense 3.
A noun subject that follows every is used with a singular verb.
In formal writing, a pronoun or possessive adjective that refers to a subject with every is usually singular: Every employee has his or her own key to the building. However, in conversation and in informal writing these pronouns and possessive adjectives are often plural: Every employee has their own key to the building.
  1. 1
    used for referring to all the people or things of a particular type or in a particular group, or all the parts of something

    Every bedroom has its own private bathroom.

    She wrote to every member of the committee.

    I can remember every detail of our conversation.

    every single (=used for emphasis):

    This is a decision that affects every single one of us.

    every inch/moment/word (=used for emphasizing that you mean the whole of something):

    A wonderful experience! I enjoyed every moment of it.

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  2. 2
    used for showing how often something happens or how far apart things are, especially when there is a regular time or distance between them
    every day/every two hours/every few miles etc:

    You should take one tablet every four hours.

    There are army checkpoints every few miles along the road.

    every other day/week/month etc (=on the first, third, fifth etc days, weeks, or months):

    I have to work every other weekend.

    The committee meets every other month.

    every now and again/every now and then/every so often/every once in a while (=sometimes but not often):

    Every so often he would stop work and look towards the gate.

    Every now and then (=not too frequently) an event occurs that changes public attitudes.

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  3. 3
    used for showing how common something is by giving a number as a part of a larger number

    Almost one in every five computers was found to be faulty.

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  4. 4
    used before some words for emphasis
    every reason/sign/intention etc:

    The team has every reason to feel proud after last night’s stunning performance.

    We wish you both every happiness in your future life together.

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See also