most Indians use the idiom "every nook and corner instead of every nook and cranny.Is it acceptable in native English countries like England? i have heard sentences like I searched every nook and cornerbut I could not find it.Is the idiom acceptable ?


2 Answers 2


Define acceptable. The phrase is idiomatic, so it is ultimately specific to the listener.

As a native British English speaker, I'd certainly know what you meant, but I'd hear the word corner and think you'd got the idiom wrong, because I have never heard it expressed as "every nook and corner"—only "every nook and cranny".

That said, I don't regularly converse with Indian English speakers, and they may well accept corner over cranny.

If you intend to be natural-sounding to a British English speaker, stick to the British English idiom.

(The ngram is interesting, though, suggesting that nook and corner might once have been far more common...)

  • Thank you mr Jim. i know the idiom every nook and corner is an Indianism. The dictionary says nook and crany but most indians say nook and corner Jul 29, 2019 at 17:43

Check out the history of the two forms... enter image description here

I can't even begin to speculate on why mainstream Anglophones switched their preference so decisively from corner to cranny in the first half of the last century. Well, maybe I can - perhaps we all just liked the "quaintness" of these unusual (almost "dialectal" nouns). But I think this chart is also relevant...

enter image description here

What that second chart shows is that over 70% of all instances of the relatively uncommon word cranny now occur in the "fixed phrase" [every] nook and cranny. It's the same story with nook, which is also relatively uncommon today outside this fixed form.

Note that the actual shift in preference will be even more extreme than that implied by the charts, since many of the more recent hits for the "original, obsolete" form will be direct quotes from (or misdated reprints of) much earlier instances.

Since becoming a regular here on ELL, I've become aware that "Indian English" often retains usages from Victorian times long after they're discarded by Brits and Americans - but the reason for that is a matter of culture / history, not linguistics / grammar.

Is it "acceptable"? The IE form will certainly be easily understood, but I think almost all mainstream Anglophones would think it was at the very least "odd". And if they knew the speaker wasn't a native Anglophone, they might be tempted to (helpfully) point out the "correct" version. Despite what my first chart might suggest, nowhere near 30% of native speakers today (probably not even 3%) would ever have encountered every nook and corner.

  • thank mr Fumble for your timely and comprehensi ve answer which help a lot like Indian English teachers like me Jul 29, 2019 at 17:53
  • 1
    I take it that although you teach [Indian] English, you're not yourself a native Anglophone. But I would be interested to know if you (and others in your line of work) have a view on whether you actually want to teach students "English as currently used in India", or whether you'd rather move more towards "mainstream" English. Personally, I'd be sorry to lose some features of current IE (the use of prepone as the antonym of postpone is one example that comes to mind! :) Jul 29, 2019 at 18:01
  • 1
    Mr Fumble. I try to teach British English but not Indian English though Iam not a native English speaker or teacher we teach all Indianisms like prepone which is an analogy of post war and prewar periods Jul 29, 2019 at 18:07

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .