Example with a context (Forget Tanks. Russia’s Ruble Is Conquering Eastern Ukraine):

“The increasing use of the ruble is yet another sign Russia’s going to keep de facto sovereignty over the territory it and the separatists control,” said Cliff Kupchan, Eurasia Group chairman in New York. “If the sides implement the latest truce, which is unlikely, perhaps both the hryvnia and the ruble will be used. If not, it will be all ruble.”

Why do you think there is not any kind of article in front of ruble? Why not say it will be all the ruble?

3 Answers 3


All there means "entirely, exclusively, nothing but".

The crooner looked out upon his audience, which was all female.

This sausage is all pork.

This sweater is all wool.

You're listening to 102.2 on your AM dial. All music, all the time.

P.S. user pazzo asks an interesting followup: why not "all time"?

First let's go back to ruble.

We have the ruble, a ruble, transactions in rubles, and even the adjectival "ruble transactions".

When you put your hands in the glue pot, they get "all sticky", completely sticky, not just a little bit of glue on your pinkie. The original quotation I understand in analogous terms: ruble in "all ruble" is adjectival. Economic exchange will be all ruble.

Why not "all time"?

"All time" means "eternity", whereas "all (of) the time" means "always" or "on every occasion". The definite article "the time" refers not to the whole of Time but to a time in particular; in the case of the radio-station example, it would be the "air* time. But in general, "all the time" refers to "on every applicable occasion".

  • If the currency fails, it may be "all barter". May 6, 2015 at 12:01
  • 1
    One might need to explain why it's not: all music, all time? In fact why isn't it?
    – user6951
    May 6, 2015 at 13:46
  • 1
    @pazzo: I have tried. May 6, 2015 at 22:05

It's [nearly] a joke, on 'all rubble' - but it's quite acceptable in politico-reporterese, & has simple equivalents in common speech.

Consider [off the top of my head] "If the rocks on this beach are hard enough, they will remain over time; if not, it will be all sand."

I guess it might be considered an ellipsis. 'if they are not hard enough, eventually it will be all sand, as they have worn right down.'


Because, as the Cambridge Dictionary states in its definition for all, all can be used as a determiner. In other words, articles are not the only determiners. In other words, other words than articles can come before nouns. These include possessive pronouns (my, your, her, etc.) and demonstrative pronouns (this, that, these those)

The same dictionary has multiple notes on all (including article omission), and it is highly suggested that you spend a moment to read them over.

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