"When you delete your account, people won't be able to see it on Facebook. It may take up to 90 days to delete all of the things you've posted, like your photos, status updates or other data stored in backup systems".

Why the writer says "delete all of the things" not simply "delete all things" ?

what is the difference ?

I see this structure appears many times in English but have no idea why is that.

Is there any rule here?

Thank you

2 Answers 2


Determiners can be often followed by of.
of simply shows the parts included in the preceding word.

However, if you replace the object by a pronoun, you can't leave it off:

  1. all of the things.
  2. all the things.
  3. all of them.
  4. all them.

You can say "all of my children" and "all my children". There is no difference. With a personal pronoun only the variant with of is possible: all of you, all of them. Variant: you all.

The variant "all of" seems to be the older one and "all+noun" seems to be a shortening, which would explain the particular position of "all my children, all these books".

"all of" is parallel to the Latin genitivus partitivus, meaning how much/many of what as in multum vini (much of the wine). You find it also in French beaucoup de vin (much of wine, de partitif). And it was usual in older German viel des Weines (much of the wine). Later this cumbersome genitive was simplified to viel Wein (much wine).


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