A person of ____ age may suffer from defects of vision.

Take for example the sentence above. Here I'm not sure whether I should use every or any in this case. Where is the difference? For me it has the same meaning. When do you need to use every and when any? I'm looking for a general usage of any and every, not only in this case.

  • 2
    AmEng: "at any age"
    – mkennedy
    Jan 26, 2016 at 19:54

1 Answer 1


"Any" refers to one member of a set ("of any age.") "Every" refers to all members of a set.

"A person of any age may suffer from defects of vision" [correct]

means, any member of the set can experience defects in vision.

"A person of every age may suffer from defects of vision" [incorrect]

doesn't make sense, because "a person" cannot be "of every age."

  • 1
    I would interpret A person of every age to mean one person of each age. It doesn't make sense in this context but it could in others, e.g. "A person of every age from 1 to 100 was present at the festival yesterday".
    – Era
    Jan 26, 2016 at 20:31
  • @Era But the fact that you're mentally substituting "each" for "every" means "each" was the wrong word. Yes, people can eventually figure out what it means, but why make all your readers go through that effort, when you can use clearer language? Jan 26, 2016 at 22:20
  • I'm not mentally substituting words, I'm taking each and every to be synonyms in this context. I agree it's not the clearest way to express the point, but that's a separate issue. It's the wrong word choice in OP's case either way.
    – Era
    Jan 26, 2016 at 22:41

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .