Each or every?

Each and every are determiners, words typically used before nouns. Before we discuss the difference between them, let’s dive into determiners!


Determiners include articles (a/an/the), demonstratives (this/that/these, etc.), possessives (my, your, etc.), quantifiers (a few/few, little/a little, etc.), and numbers.

Determiners specify the nouns in terms of reference or quantity, providing information about the noun. For example:

  • I want to buy a new laptop.
  • I am considering the laptop you have told me about.

In the first sentence, the speaker uses a determiner (indefinite article a) to introduce the topic of buying an unspecified new laptop. In the second one, the speaker uses a determiner (definite article the) to refer to a specific laptop, showing the change in the meaning brought by the use of different determiners. Similarly, in the following sentences

  • We have few new clients.
  • We have a few new clients.

the meaning of the sentences is different because of the determiners used in them. The meaning of the first sentence is not a lot of, not many, whereas the meaning of the second one is a couple of, some.  

Now that you are familiar with determiners and the ways they modify the meaning of the nouns they precede, let’s take a look at the difference between every and each!

Every vs. Each

Each refers to individual items or person in a group of two or more things or people, and emphasises the individuality of separate components.

  • Each team needs to hand in their report on Monday.
  • Each email was sent on time.
  • The letters on the monuments were carefully arranged, each one perfectly positioned.

Every refers to people and items collectively, in a group of three and more things, emphasising their universality.

  • Every person I met there had something nice to say.
  • She has assigned every task I have worked on.
  • Every client knows about the changes we are planning to implement.

Keep in mind that determiners alter the meaning of a sentence, the choice between them depending on the context and the nuance the speaker wants to convey. So, use every for expressing universality, and each for individuality!