The English language can be quite complex at times. Just when you think you’ve mastered a concept, something will come along that will throw doubt your way. One common source of confusion is what verb form to use after “everyone” — Is it “everyone is” or “everyone are”?
“Everyone is” will be the correct choice. “Everyone,” “someone,” “anyone,” etc., all belong to the group of indefinite pronouns that take a singular verb. Many people mistakenly assume that they are plural pronouns and use “are” in place of “is.” However, as singular indefinite pronouns, they take a singular verb because subject and verb must always agree.
This article will explore the difference between “everyone is” and “everyone are” and include a detailed discussion about indefinite pronouns and subject-verb agreement.
What Is “Everyone?”
“Everyone” is an indefinite pronoun we use to refer to a total number of people. Grammarians and lexicographers group it with “everything,” “everybody,” and “everywhere” as a cluster of indefinite pronouns that function to denote an unspecified number of people, places, or things (source).
Pronouns replace nouns in sentences, so we use “everyone” to talk about a non-specific group of people. Consider the following sentences, where “everyone” replaces a noun phrase.
I want to thank all my friends and family for supporting me through my illness.
I want to thank everyone for supporting me through my illness.
Did you check if Jack, Mike, Andy, and Sally are available for the meeting?
Did you check if everyone is available for the meeting?
So Is It Everyone Is or Are?
Many English learners will wonder, “Should ‘is’ or ‘are’ be used with everyone?” Since we use “everyone” to refer to more than one person, the majority of English learners’ first instinct is to think of “everyone” as plural. Following this reasoning, they’ll favor using “are” in place of “is.”
However, it’s important to remember that “everyone,” “everything,” “everybody,” and “everywhere” refer to a single group. The contents of the group are an unspecified number of people, things, or places, but the group is singular, so we always follow these pronouns with a singular verb.
All indefinite pronouns that end in -one will take a singular verb. These include “everyone,” “someone,” “anyone,” and “no one.”
Everyone are happy about their news. (Incorrect)
Everyone is happy about their news. (Correct)
Other indefinite pronouns denote countable numbers of people, things, or places — such as both or many — and logically, we always follow these with a plural verb.
Explaining Indefinite Pronouns
By definition, indefinite pronouns do not refer to any particular place, person, or thing. There is a group of indefinite pronouns in English that we form using a quantifier as a prefix, such as every-, any-, some-, and no- (source).
Indefinite pronouns with any- and some- are useful for describing incomplete and indefinite quantities, similarly to when we apply “any” and “some” alone.
We can place indefinite pronouns in the place of nouns in a sentence, as evidenced below.
|I plan to go to Singapore this summer.||I plan to go somewhere this summer.|
|Rob gifted me a pen.||Someone gifted me a pen.|
|I bought my office supplies at the store.||I bought everything necessary at the store.|
|I want all my friends and family to come to my party.||I want everyone to come to my party.|
Key Rules for Verbs Following Indefinite Pronouns
Some basic rules govern the use of singular or plural verbs following indefinite pronouns, which are very useful to master. Below, we’ve listed other indefinite pronouns that function similarly to “everyone” and others that don’t.
Ending -body, -one, -where, or -thing
All indefinite pronouns that end -body, -one, -where, or -thing take a singular verb. The ending -where indicates place, -thing indicates objects, and -one and -body indicate people.
Indefinite pronouns using the -body ending include “somebody,” “everybody,” “nobody,” and “anybody.”
Everybody are ready for today’s match. (Incorrect)
Everybody is ready for today’s match. (Correct)
Indefinite pronouns that specify an amount like “few,” “both,” “many,” and “several” take a plural verb.
Many of them is happy with the plan. (Incorrect)
Many of them are happy with the plan. (Correct)
Others Depend on Context
Some indefinite pronouns can accept singular or plural verbs, depending on their usage. These include “any,” “all,” “more,” “none,” and “some.”
All are welcome at my party.
All is forgiven.
More information is needed before I can decide.
More drinks are needed for this party.
What About Everybody?
Most people view “everyone” and “everybody” as synonyms of one another, but there are some subtle differences. Both are indefinite pronouns that refer to an indefinite number of people in a group, and we can often use them interchangeably.
However, most consider “everyone” more appropriate in formal use than “everybody.” It’s, therefore, more common to hear “everybody” in spoken, conversational English and to see “everyone” in written English.
Consider the sentences below. In all cases, you could use “everybody” or “everyone,” and the meaning would remain the same.
Everyone was in a very strange mood.
Her name is Katherine, but everybody calls her Katie.
Everyone will have an opportunity to taste the dessert.
I wish everybody would just leave me alone.
Difference Between “Everyone” and “Every One”
We can replace the pronoun “everyone” with “everybody,” referring to all the individuals in a group. Used as two words, “every one” lays stress on each individual who is part of a group, and it indicates each person.
“Everyone” and “every one” do not mean the same thing, and deciding which one is appropriate requires proper consideration. You need to think about the actual meaning of the term in its context (source).
Use “everyone” when you are trying to refer to all the people collectively as a group. A great way to remember this is to note that “everyone” and “everybody” are interchangeable.
The new rules will affect everyone in a positive way. (Correct)
The new rules will affect everybody in a positive way. (Correct)
You can use “every one” when referring to each member within a group and when there is an “of” in the sentence.
I want to invite every one of you to my birthday party. (Correct)
I want to invite everyone of you to my birthday party. (Incorrect)
For an article on the possessive form of “everyone” consider our article, “Everyone’s or Everyones: Differences, Proper Use, & Meaning,” which you can read by clicking the link.
What Is Subject-Verb Agreement?
As you’ve learned from our discussion so far, you must choose the correct verb to agree with the subject of a sentence. This concept of subject-verb agreement might sound easy, but it can also be confusing at times.
The basic rule of thumb is that you follow a singular subject with a singular verb and a plural subject with a plural verb, as shown in the sentences below.
Jerry drives his car to work every day.
The boys are running like wild animals.
Most importantly, your chosen verb should reflect the subject characteristics, whether it is singular or plural. Consider the examples below.
She see you. (Incorrect)
She sees you. (Correct)
I sees you. (Incorrect)
I see you. (Correct)
It’s easy to confuse many beginners when the subject is complicated and long, as shown in the example below.
The arrival of new stocks in the mall have excited all the female shoppers. (Incorrect)
The arrival of new stocks in the mall has excited all the female shoppers. (Correct)
Again, we use “everyone” as singular because it refers to one group, so you must follow it with a singular verb to ensure subject/verb agreement.
Subject/Verb Agreement Rules
Unlike other languages that need the subject and verb to agree in both gender and number, English verbs are never conjugated for gender and need only match all in number. There are some basic rules for subject-verb agreement, which we outline below with examples (source).
Join Using “and”
A subject composed of nouns and joined using “and” takes a plural subject if the intended sense of the subject is not singular.
He and I go for a run every day.
Jelly and peanut butter is my favorite sandwich spread. (Intended singular sense)
Joining Using “or”
For a subject composed of two or more nouns and joined using “or,” the verb will agree with the last noun.
Rice, potatoes, or pasta goes well with roasted chicken. (Last used noun: pasta)
Using Collective Nouns & Noun Phrases
Collective nouns always take a singular verb (couple, team, staff, etc.), as do collective noun phrases (a group of, a bunch of, etc.).
The cricket team is practicing very hard for the tournament.
The committee will decide what needs to be cut from the school budget.
A set of 10 cups is all you will need for the tea party.
Connectives include phrases such as “combined with,” “accompanied by,” “along with,” “added to,” “as well as,” and “together with.” These don’t change the subject number, so verb agreement is with the first item. We generally use them with commas unless they denote a single unit.
Gas, as well as oil, is a famous heating medium.
Jelly combined with peanut butter and bread is a yummy snack.
In the second example, bread, jelly, and peanut butter are one unit — a sandwich — so there is no need to use commas, and we keep the singular form of the verb.
“Each” always takes a singular verb.
Each boy is ready for the match; each is well prepared.
“None” works with a singular verb if what it is trying to refer to is singular. “None” works with a plural verb if what it is trying to refer to is plural.
None of you can go out without permission.
None of the carrots are left on Sandra’s plate. (“Carrots” is plural)
In the case of fractions, the verb agrees with the whole.
One-fourth of the toffees are gone. (“Toffees” is a plural noun)
One-fourth of the book is already done. (“Book” is a singular noun)
Money as the Subject
If the amount mentioned is specific, you will need to use a singular verb. If the amount is vague, you will need to use a plural verb.
Within one year, $10 million was spent on building this stadium.
“$10 million” is specific, so the verb used is singular.
Funds are collected each year for the annual meet.
“Funds” are non-specific, so the verb used is plural.
Using “More than One”
The phrase “more than one” works with a singular verb.
More than one car has collided in the race.
More than one girl is singing in the troupe.
Using a Phrase In Between
Do not be misled when there is a phrase in between the subject and the verb. The verb will agree with the mentioned subject and not with a pronoun or noun in the phrase. This article is written for strategiesforparents.com.
One of the bags is open.
The team captain, along with the players, is anxious.
The buffet, including all the items in the starter, is boring.
Whenever you construct sentences, you have to pay attention to the subject-verb agreement along with the suitable indefinite pronouns. It’s important to know how to treat indefinite pronouns like “everyone” in sentences and when they are singular or plural.
Here we have learned that “everyone is” is always the correct choice because “everyone” is a singular indefinite pronoun. There are other similar pronouns that you will need to learn so that you can become proficient in English.
It’s never correct to say “everyone are” because it does not abide by the rules of subject-verb agreement and indefinite pronouns.