As you know, all can be used with personal pronouns, right?
I want to know what exactly it is; an adverb or something else?

Two examples:

They've eaten it all.
All it takes is 5 minutes to rock the cloud.

  • 1
    It's a determiner: see here for more information: dictionary.cambridge.org/grammar/british-grammar/all
    – JavaLatte
    Mar 20, 2016 at 15:52
  • @Man_From_India : i think in my last sentence it's not a determiner because after it's "it" a Subject pronouns, not a noun .
    – hoangtu9x
    Mar 21, 2016 at 15:30
  • @hoangtu9x sorry my last comment contained mistakes. Mar 22, 2016 at 0:05
  • In your last sentence all is a determiner. It is used in your last sentence as a fused determiner phrase. In case of your first example, all is a modifier, and it modifies it. The traditional grammar, however, will explain it a different way. According to them In both of your cited sentences all is a pronoun. Mar 22, 2016 at 0:09

3 Answers 3


'All' can be a determiner, a predeterminer, a pronoun or an adverb.

For each I'll give an example.


The boys played video games all day.


Have you done all your homework?


All you need is a hammer and some nails.


He got all wet.

  1. They've eaten it all.

In your first example 'all' is used after the object pronoun for emphasis which is a determiner here the other way of saying this is 'all of it'.

I quote this part from Cambridge Dictionaries Online at http://dictionary.cambridge.org/grammar/british-grammar/all

When all refers to a personal pronoun which is the object in a clause, we can use pronoun + all or all of + pronoun. The pronoun is in the object form:

I used to have three pens but I’ve lost them all. (or … but I’ve lost all of them).

Not: … but I lost all them.

However, in short responses, all of must be used:

A: How many of these boxes are you going to need?

B: All of them.

Not: Them all. ×

  1. All it takes is 5 minutes to rock the cloud.

In the second example of yours it's a pronoun which means 'everything' or here to customize the definition I'd go with 'the only thing'.

  • Just one point i don't really understand in my first sentence "They've eaten it all" is Why determiner is after a pronoun . Usually, determiner is before pronoun , right ? Or in this case that pronoun is in object form ?
    – hoangtu9x
    Mar 22, 2016 at 15:04
  • Yea right but in the link that I put in my answer you'll see this structure has been classified as a determiner. Actually this 'object pronoun + all' falls under 'all as a determiner' category.
    – Yuri
    Mar 22, 2016 at 17:09
  • However, I personally think 'all' is not a determiner and more of a 'quantifier' here.
    – Yuri
    Mar 22, 2016 at 17:44
  • Visit my link :oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/definition/english/all_2 it's from Oxford . It say "all" is a pronoun in my first sentence "They've eaten it all" .And now after a object can be a pronoun ? It make me confuse .
    – hoangtu9x
    Mar 24, 2016 at 16:00
  • You'd be probably surprised if you chech this link on Merriam Webster dictionary that considers 'all' as an adjective, too. I think it's probably the difference that exist between dictionaries. What I said was based on Cambriedge Dictionaries online. Not sure really which one is correct. merriam-webster.com/dictionary/all
    – Yuri
    Mar 24, 2016 at 16:27

"all of you/ you ...all" means the total number of you, without exception. "all of it/it all" as in "The dog has eaten all of the cake/all of it" means the whole cake. This indication of how many/how much is in traditional grammar called an indefinite numeral.


After researching more detail, i found what the grammar point in my first example sentence "They've eaten it all" is . It's totally a adverb . Just see this sentence "i eat it quickly " . And "all" in this case is the same .who agree with me ?

  • I don't. If it's an adverb, what does it modify? The sentence you mentioned is different from what OP quoted, even surface structure is not similar. Mar 25, 2016 at 2:06

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