What is the usage of this pattern?

Not all students are smart

Not all consultants are expert

When do you say that? For example what's its difference with:

All consultants are not expert.

I can understand its emphasis but would like to hear when do you use it. (To begin what sentences?)

What are other similar patterns? Can we say

Not every consultant is expert

  • 1
    I'm confused. What exactly is the question?
    – CHEESE
    Commented Jan 2, 2017 at 20:51
  • Yes. You can say "Not every [NOUN] is [ADJECTIVE]".
    – Robusto
    Commented Jan 2, 2017 at 21:07
  • Not all X are Y means X and Y refer to NOUNS. Therefore: Not all consultants are experts. There are no adjective in your question.
    – Lambie
    Commented Jan 2, 2017 at 21:41
  • @cheese I explained more
    – Ahmad
    Commented Jan 3, 2017 at 4:04

1 Answer 1


The confusion here is that "expert" is both a noun and an adjective. You can be an expert in a subject, or you can be expert in that subject.

So when you say "Not all X are Y" (where X is plural) you have to be clear about what part of speech Y is.

Not all fruit is orange (adjective)

Not all fruit is an orange. (noun)

In the same way:

Not every consultant is expert (adjective)

Not every consultant is an expert (noun).

If you choose a noun, though, it must match the subject:

Not all hats are fedoras.

Not any hat is a fedora.

Note that using a modifying quantifier like every, some, all, etc. changes whether the subject is considered be singular or plural.

Not every boy is a student.

Not all of the boys are students.

More on subject-verb agreement with quantifiers

  • @Ahmad I don't see another question that is different from my answer?
    – Andrew
    Commented Jan 3, 2017 at 4:22
  • You said about the grammar, but I asked about its usage too! I mean why not All consultants are not expert? what is the difference? you may say some examples how such emphasis on NOT, at the beginning of sentence is used
    – Ahmad
    Commented Jan 3, 2017 at 8:20
  • I see. Yes you can say something like "All of the boys are not students" or "All of the fruit are not orange", if you want. Although it might not be clear whether you are trying to say "every one of them is not ..." or "not all of them are..." but even native speaker have this confusion.
    – Andrew
    Commented Jan 3, 2017 at 13:46

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