I have come across the following two sentences from Michael Swan's practical English usage

1 I meet my mother every single day

2 I meet my friends every few days

what is the use of single in the in the sentence number 1? is it not superfluous? is not enough if we say " I meet my mother every day"

I meet my friends every five days is understandable. But what does "every few days " mean? does it mean every now and then?

  • I've removed the "I would be grateful if you could answer my topic". There is no need to say "thank you in advance", and the English in your phrase is incorrect: We are answering your question, not your topic.
    – James K
    Commented Aug 15, 2019 at 7:43

1 Answer 1


It is an idiomatic expression that emphasises "every day". In particular it stresses that the phrase "every day" should be understood literally, and not figuratively.

I go to work every day. (but you probably guess from the context that this means I am a full-time worker. I don't work on holidays, so the statement is not literally true)

I go to work every single day. (I mean this literally, including Sunday, Christmas and New Year.)

Of course, it might be more complicated than that, because emphatic phrases like "every single day" can also be used hyperbolically.

"Every few days" means "now and then", probably at least once a week. It is deliberately vague.

  • Similarly "I meet my friends every five days" is precise (and also unlikely unless there is a rolling schedule). Commented Aug 15, 2019 at 9:04

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