I was looking for the usage of "all", and came across this thread. According to an answer in that thread, "all", when used with a plural noun, means "every". So, I was wondering if I could say,

"All the devices(=every device) are to be given a number."

Would it be misunderstood as those devices as a whole to be given only one number?

Thank you for any comment.

  • Only very slightly ambiguous, nothing to worry about in the real world. If you want to be 100% unambiguous (and a bit pedantic), you could say "Each device is to be given a number". – BillJ Aug 31 '16 at 8:32

You sentence

All the devices are to be given a number.

is ambiguous but most often understood to mean each device will receive a number, usually uniquely different. If they were all given the same number then explicitly

All the devices are to be given the same number.
All the devices are to be given the number: 14.

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