I was wondering if I should use singular or plural after "to all". Instinctively I would go for plural, but when googling, the only example I found was a song title: "To all the boys", most other samples used "singular-looking words" like "To all the people". So I don't know if it's "art grammar" (like gramaticaly incorrect but OK for song writing) or just the right thing.

As far as I know, 'all' can be used for both singular and plural forms (1st answer), so I don't know if I should use plural or singular in this sentence : "To all the fanboy(s) ..." and why so ?

Sorry for my English, I'm not a native, just please ask in comment if I'm unclear.

Edit 1

My expected full sentence would be: "To all some_technology fanboys, permit me to quote "...", so joking about people who defends something I disagree with.

  • What do you mean by ' "singular-plural" like "To all the people"" The word "people" here is a plural word. (There is a singular noun "people" but that is not used here)
    – James K
    Jun 23, 2021 at 20:55
  • I'm unclear about this notion in English: So "people" has the same spelling for singular and plural, so "the" makes it plural form ? Consequently, in my case, as I use "the", fanboy should be fanboys ?
    – May.D
    Jun 23, 2021 at 21:01
  • 2
    No, there are two senses one is the plural "Many people" and it means "human beings" and is a plural word. It is used as a plural of "person". There is also a rarer sense "a people" and it means "a nation" and is singular. This is an odd word. It is best to imagine that there are two words with different meanings that happen to have the same spelling. There are no other words quite like this.
    – James K
    Jun 23, 2021 at 21:11
  • OK thank you for the explanation, I shoud not have used an example that I dont "master".
    – May.D
    Jun 23, 2021 at 21:17
  • So English has "person" (singular) with a regular plural "persons", and an irregular plural "people". And another word "people" (with a different meaning) that has a regular plural "peoples"
    – James K
    Jun 23, 2021 at 21:17

2 Answers 2


It is always good to give a full sentence when you ask a question. Your examples are slightly confusing. By reading the comments I understand that you want to make sure you can use plural after all in

To all (the) soccer fanboys

NGram tell you that both singular and plural nouns are commonly used after all. (Note that to all the is more common than to all without "the").

Cambridge describes the use of all saying

All means ‘every one’, ‘the complete number or amount’ or ‘the whole’. We use it most often as a determiner. We can use a countable noun or an uncountable noun after it:

  • All my friends are away at university.
  • All information about the new product is confidential.

And you can find plenty of other examples with plurals after all on that page.

Without context, without knowing if this is some kind of dedication or part of a sentence, it is not easy to discern if the is needed or not. But Cambridge does give a general guideline:

All with no article

When all refers to a whole class of people or things, we don’t use the:

All children love stories. (i.e. every child in the world)

Not: All the children love stories.

If you have in mind a particular group, then you would need the

To all the soccer fanboys (here present, that attended the match, etc.)

If you rather think of fanboys as a class of people in general, you can just say

To all soccer fanboys.

  • Thank you very much for scholar resources, I dont refer to Cambrige enough. Anyway, could you please adivce on the "best" way to phrase my sentence ? I've edited my question with expected output. I'd like to use some sort of formal language but with irony and a contrast with the world fanboy with is more familiar.
    – May.D
    Jun 23, 2021 at 21:38
  • @May.D Not sure I understand your sentence with the "some_technology" phrase... But I can say that "To all ... fanboys, permit me to quote ..." is grammatically correct.
    – fev
    Jun 23, 2021 at 21:44
  • It could to "to be all Plato fanboys". Sorry I'm from SO and context/conventions are quite different here. In the end, I'll go for your proposition.
    – May.D
    Jun 23, 2021 at 21:50
  • 1
    What is SO? Oh I get you, Stack Overflow. Using words instead of signs can protect you from many misunderstandings :-)
    – fev
    Jun 23, 2021 at 21:53

You should use the plural. Both your examples use a plural word.

Boys is the plural of boy. (one boy, many boys)

People is a plural of person. (one person, many people)

As I note in a comment, "person/people" is a strange couple of words, but in this context, people is a plural noun, and functions as the plural of person.

  • Thanks for the explanation. Last detail If I may, in my example, shoud I use "to all the xxx fanboys" or "To all xxx fanboys" ? I 'd rather sound colloquial.
    – May.D
    Jun 23, 2021 at 21:18
  • By xxx do you mean "xxx" or "kiss-kiss-kiss" or is there a missing word?
    – James K
    Jun 23, 2021 at 21:21
  • Anyway, it probably doesn't matter. In this context both with and without "the" seems fine to me
    – James K
    Jun 23, 2021 at 21:22
  • Oh I didnt know xxx means kiss-kiss-kiss. I was using at as replacement for a word, like "soccer fanboys/ Some Personality fanboys".
    – May.D
    Jun 23, 2021 at 21:22
  • I guess both are gramatically correct, but I'm looking for "sarcasm". By the way, really sorry for the poor quality question, I'm still struggling with English subtilities and some basics like plural forms.
    – May.D
    Jun 23, 2021 at 21:24

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