Word Confusion: Every Thing versus Everything

Posted September 18, 2017 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Self-Editing, Word Confusions

Turns out that everything is the current default spelling, however if you want to get picky *grin*, “the difference is one of emphasis, one focuses on the individual items, the other focuses on all items as a unit” (Writing Explained).

Unless…yeah, you were waiting for that one, weren’t you? If you slip an adjective in between every and thing, then, obviously, you will write it as two words…every single time…got it?

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Curious About Other Everys?

If you’re curious about other every closed compound words, you may want to check out “Every Body versus Everybody“, “Every Day versus Everyday“, “Every Man versus Everyman“, “Every One versus Everyone“, “Every Place versus Everyplace“, and “Every Way versus Everyway“.

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Word Confusions…

…started as my way of dealing with a professional frustration with properly spelled words that were out of context in manuscripts I was editing as well as books I was reviewing. It evolved into a sharing of information with y’all. I’m hoping you’ll share with us words that have been a bête noir for you from either end.

If you found this post on “Every Thing versus Everything” interesting, consider tweeting it to your friends. Subscribe to KD Did It, if you’d like to track this post for future updates.

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Every Thing Everything
Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com; Dictionary.com: everything

A fishtank full of colorful fish

“So Many Cichilds” by OakleyOriginals is under the CC BY 2.0 license, via VisualHunt

Every single fish is for sale.

“What’s in My Bag?” Do8y under the CC BY-ND 2.0 license, via VisualHunt

Yep, that’s everything.

Part of Grammar:
Adverbial Phrase consisting of a Determiner + Noun
Plural for noun: every thing
Closed Compound Word

Noun; Pronoun
Specific phrase referring to each individual object (or objects in a group) to which one need not, cannot, or does not wish to give a specific name

Particularly useful when an adjective is inserted between every and thing

Always uses singular verb

Something that is extremely or most important

All things

  • All the things of a group or class
  • All things of importance
  • A great deal
  • The most important thing or aspect

The current situation

  • Life in general
Pick up every single thing.

She has every goddammned thing she could want!

Do I have to eat every last thing on my plate?

Money is his everything.

He taught me everything I know.

They sell herbal cures for everything from leprosy to rheumatism.

I lost everything in the hurricane.

He owed everything to his years in Munich.

Money isn’t everything.

How’s everything?

Everything is going okay.

You’ll still get paid and everything.

She was articulate, she was fun — it seemed to me she had everything.

History of the Word:
Middle English word dating back to 1350-1400. Mid-19th century in both American- and British-English.

C’mon, get it out of your system, bitch, whine, moan…which words are your pet peeves? Also, please note that I try to be as accurate as I can, but mistakes happen or I miss something. Email me if you find errors, so I can fix them…and we’ll all benefit!

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Pinterest Photo Credits:

Nice Selection of REAL Buses by Gene Hunt is under the CC BY 2.0 license, via VisualHunt.