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Indefinite Pronouns: Each

Each reader of this website is entitled to learn about grammar, right? Or wait, should that be each of us are entitled to learn about grammar? Is this about me, or all of us?

INCORRECT

  • Each of the three students were entitled to one grammatical error on the quiz.
  • While I’m watching, each one of the kittens are falling asleep.
  • Each of their grammatical errors feel like a knife through my heart.

CORRECT

This is actually a simple rule to learn! No matter how many numbers come after each, the verb must be singular: Each one of the students was entitled to an error. Ignore the number and simply connect each to the singular form of the verb. Each student is entitled, each kitten is falling asleep, and each error feels like a knife. Ouch! The word each indicates just one of two or more; that’s why it is singular.

MORE TO KNOW

The word each is an indefinite pronoun, along with all, any, some, none, and many others. Some are singular (each), some are plural (several), and some can be both, as in there is none left and there are none left. Perhaps the confusion in singular / plural words such as none, all, and most has resulted in each appearing equally confusing, but it isn’t. Each uses a singular construction.

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