The word "every" is similar to "each." Use "every" when thinking about the single members of a whole group of people or the indivdual parts of an entire thing or a period of time:

  • She comes to class every day.
  • Every student in this class is expected to participate in class discussion.
  • Gloves are provided for every worker who needs them.
  • I have to work every Saturday. (This means all of the Saturdays during the year.)
  • Mitchell has to work every other Saturday. (This means that he works a Saturday, then he doesn’t, then he does, then he doesn’t, and so on.)
  • Edna is sick every few weeks. (This sounds like the situation is repeated often.)
  • Our entire family gets together every Christmas.
  • Every box on these shelves needs to be loaded onto a truck.

A more difficult use for the word "every" is in describing possibility:

  • Don was given every chance to succeed, but he didn’t take advantage of his opportunities.
  • They had every reason to believe that their parents survived the plane crash.
  • Marissa has used every opportunity to get ahead at the company where she works.

Pay attention to the pronunciation of this word! It’s just two syllables, not three:

ev – ree

For intermediate and advanced learners of English, here’s another way to use the word "every."


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This page was first published on February 20, 2012. It was amended on December 31, 2014.