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Each or Every?

Ask a Teacher
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Each or Every?
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Today we answer a question from Sandra M.


She writes, “Hello! Could you tell me, please, what the difference is between 'each' and 'every’… Which option is correct: each cell or every cell?”


Dear Sandra,

Thank you for writing to us.

Yes, “each” and “every” are very similar words. I admit, sometimes I have to think about which one to use!

In general, you use “each” when you are talking about one individual object or person. “Every” is used for a group of objects, or people that you group together.

For example, you can say:

Each tree in the forest is different, but every tree is beautiful.

Here’s another example. The American poet Maya Angelou said:

“I believe that every person is born with talent."

She used “every” because she was talking about all people. But if she wanted to point out that we are not all good at the same things, she could have added:

“Each person has a different talent, just like each person has a different voice.”

Now, let’s answer your question. Use “each cell” if you are talking about individual cells, or cells that are not the same. For example:

Each cell has a specific purpose. One cell becomes part of a heart, one cell becomes part of a lung, and one cell becomes part of a brain.

But if you say, Every cell in your body has a wall,” you are talking about the group of cells in your body, and how they are all alike.

By the way, you can also put “each” and “every” together in the same sentence to show you have a strong opinion. Like this:

“I want each and every one of you to know we believe you can be good English speakers!”

And That’s Ask a Teacher!

I’m Anne Ball.

Anne Ball wrote this story for Learning English. Kelly Jean Kelly was the editor.

Do you have a question for the teacher? We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments Section.