I read a sentence just now

high schools and language schools are all different

then I am thinking when do I need to use "all different". I guess "all different" is unnecessary when talking about things are obviously different, for instance

water and bread are all different

"all different" seems to be redundant in the sentence above, just "different" would be better.

It seems "all different" is necessary when things are not very easy to distinguish, such as lager and ale

lager and ale are all different

any ideas?

1 Answer 1


In the first example, "all different" seems to mean that "every high school is different from every other high school and from every language school". Whereas "different" would mean that "in general high schools are similar to each other and languages schools are similar to each other, but high schools are not similar to language schools".

When you use "{plural noun phrase} are all different" you mean each individual is different from every other individual. You wouldn't say "lager and ale" are all different. But you could say "lagers are all different" (meaning each type of lager is distinct)

  • Thanks a lot! an extra boring question: do I need to add a "the" in front of "lagers", to say "the lagers are all different"?
    – brennn
    Feb 15, 2020 at 22:36
  • 1
    You would use "the" when referring to a specific group of lagers. "I tried all the lagers in the hotel bar. The lagers were all different".
    – James K
    Feb 15, 2020 at 22:39

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