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All is well. This is the accepted form in English grammar. Which one of the following form is correct by this convention:

  1. Does all dogs bark?
  2. Do all dogs bark?
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  • In the phrase 'All is well' all means everything. Jul 16, 2021 at 7:41
  • On the dogs, Do all dogs bark? is right. How could it not be so?
    – Xanne
    Jul 16, 2021 at 7:57

2 Answers 2

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All is well. This is the accepted form in English grammar. Which one of the following form is correct by this convention: In this context, all is a singular noun = Everything.

In Do all dogs bark, all is an adjective/determiner (modifying "dogs") The subject of the sentence is "dogs" - dogs is plural - therefore its verb is in the plural form = "do".

As a pronoun, all can be plural if it refers set of people or things:

A: "Where are the children?"

B: "All are in bed." = {All of them} are in bed.

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The intent matters when considering whether “all” should have singular or plural agreement.

“All” is used as a collated whole in “all is well”, hence the use of singular agreement. It isn’t each piece in a collection of individual pieces that is said to be “well” - the (single) whole is said to be well.

However, if you were asked a question about the well-being of a group of people, “all” references the group of individuals as a plurality. “All are well” would mean that each individual within the group is well, as opposed to “the situation is well” if you said “all is well”.

When you talk about “all dogs”, however, you are referencing a collection of individual dogs. That plurality of dogs requires plural agreement, hence “all dogs bark”.

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  • The pronoun usage should be contrasted with the determiner usage overtly (on ELU). Jul 16, 2021 at 16:37

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