suppose three of my friends and I have gone to a library and ask the librarian to give every one of us a book. So which of the following should I say?

1- Hi sir, Could you please give us each a book?

2- Hi sir, Could you please give us a book each ? 

I want to use each because if I say "Hi sir, Could you please give us a book?", he may think we all want only one book.

And one more question, if I take my friends' names and say in the following way, will that be correct?

3- Hi sir, Could you please give John, Peter, Kate and me a book each?

  • 1
    The construction "give us a [thing] each" is more typically used with completely interchangeable objects: slices of cake, for example. It sounds unidomatic when used with "book," unless you're talking about identical copies of a textbook or some use of a book where you don't care that books generally have different contents (you were told to get a book, any book, no matter what the book is about). Feb 12, 2018 at 16:21
  • "Could you please give us each a book?" is right. You could also say "Could you please give each of us a book?"
    – codi6
    Jul 5, 2020 at 8:11

1 Answer 1


Normally, you would say something like that using the construction each of where each is a determiner:

Hello, sir. Could you please give each of us a book?

However, note that each as an adverb as used in your first example is absolutely fine too:

Hello, sir. Could you please give us each a book?

In this situation, each modifies the verb give. It tells you in exactly what manner the action of giving all of your friends a book is going to happen. It's going to happen in such a manner that every single one of them will receive a book. A simple rule of thumb to remember is that adverbs generally tend to be positioned close to the verbs they modify, but there are sometimes exceptions as Lawrence mentioned in his comment:

You can have an apple each.

The adverb each indeed can be placed at the end of a sentence.

  • I disagree that placing “each” at the end doesn’t work. Eg: “You can have an apple each.” The trailing “each” in this example has the sense of “per person”.
    – Lawrence
    Nov 13, 2022 at 7:24
  • 1
    @Lawrence Thank you for your response. That was nice of you to point out that there are sometimes exceptions as is the case with "each". I modified my answer to reflect that. Nov 13, 2022 at 16:10

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