I know that there are differences between '' each'' and ''every'' and they are sometimes used interchangeably, and I have no problem choosing which one to use in daily conversations. However, I came across this sentence and was confused whether I could use both '' each'' and ''every'':

  • Every house has a different number.
  • Each house has a different number.

To me, both sound fine, but at the same time, I wonder if the word'' different'' has any effect on the choice of quantifiers in this context? Do native speakers find these two sentences grammatically correct?

I'd appreciate it if any of you could provide with more examples where both quantifiers can be used and some where we can only choose one of them.

1 Answer 1


Using "different" here helps make these two sentences equivalent. This is because sometimes "every" is ambiguous as to whether the predicate is shared or individually distributed across the subjects, but "each" is very hard to read as introducing a shared predicate.

Here's a case where "each" is less ambiguous:

Every/each story is centred on one key conflict.

With "every", I don't know whether the key conflict is the same for every story or whether each story has its own. With "each", I'm led to assume the latter.

Because of that, you can see why "different" makes the choice less important: it makes it a shared predicate unlikely.

(However, there are contexts that would imply another sense of "different", namely "different from what was mentioned before", and preserve the ambiguity.)

You might think everyone ran screaming out the door when the fire alarm sounded. But everyone had a different problem on their mind just then: the man pointing a gun at Jenny's head.

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