Everyone’s or Everyones: Differences, Proper Use, & Meaning – Strategies for Parents

Everyone’s or Everyones: Differences, Proper Use, & Meaning

A plural noun or pronoun refers to a group of similar objects, things, or ideas. We can form the plural possessive by adding an apostrophe or apostrophe -s to show something belongs to that plural noun pronoun. However, when it comes to pronouns like “everyone,” is it “everyones” or “everyone’s”?

The word “everyone’s” is the possessive form of the indefinite pronoun “everyone,” which is always singular. The word “everyones,” without the apostrophe, doesn’t exist in English and is an incorrect spelling of “everyone’s.” Because the word “everyone” is a singular indefinite pronoun, we cannot add an -s to make it plural either.

This article will take a closer look at how we form and use the word “everyone’s,” why the spelling of “everyones” is incorrect, as well as how we use it in everyday speech.

“Everyones” or “Everyone’s”: Correct Apostrophe Placement

Again, as an indefinite pronoun, the correct term here is “everyone’s” with an apostrophe. You will never use “everyones” without an apostrophe, and the only instance in which you will use the term “everyone’s” with an apostrophe is when using it as a possessive pronoun.

What Is the Plural of Everyone?

There is no plural form of “everyone,” even though the English language typically constructs plurals by adding an -s to the end of a word. 

As English rules go, the practice of placing an -s at the end of certain words to form the plural is a pretty hard-and-fast rule, with a few irregulars like “child” and “children.” For this reason, it’s quite understandable that someone learning English might think “everyones” is merely the plural of the word “everyone.” 

Also, since “everyone” refers to a group of people, you might make the mistake of assuming it’s already in the plural form, but it isn’t. Don’t feel bad, though, as many native English speakers make the same mistake.

When we refer to a group as a whole, instead of according to each individual that makes up the group, we refer to the group as a single entity. As a result, “everyone” is singular (source).

As a pronoun, “everyone” stands in the place of a noun. Pronouns often have very different plural forms when functioning as the subject or the object of a sentence. 

Singular pronouns in the subjective case include “I,” “you,” “it,” “he,” and “she,” and plural pronouns in the subjective case include “we” and “they.” Singular pronouns in the objective case include “me,” “you,” “it,” “him,” “her,” and plural pronouns include “us” and “them” (source).

As an indefinite pronoun, we use “everyone” to refer to a group of people without specifying exactly who they are. “Everyone” is always singular and remains the same whether you use it as the subject or object of a sentence.

Using Verbs and Pronouns with “Everyone”

Since the indefinite pronoun “everyone” is a singular term, we must always use singular verbs to go with it. For example:

As soon as everyone is seated, the wedding will start.
Everyone knows where the principal’s office is.
Everyone always plays along when we prank our teacher.

Additionally, as “everyone” refers to a group, you may not always know whether it refers to only men or only women. That is why it is customary to use “him or her” or “his or her” with “everyone.”

Everyone has a team leader in charge of him or her.
Not everyone has his or her own office.
Everyone has to take his or her own lunchbox to school.

You may hear someone use the pronouns “their” or “them” with “everyone,” but this is informal. As “their” and “them” are plural pronouns, it is more accurate to use the singular “him and her” or “him or her” (source).

Here are a few examples of the informal use of the “their” or “them” pronouns with “everyone”:

Everyone must take their seat before the teacher arrives.
If everyone knows their lines, the play will go well.
The task is simple enough so that everyone can understand it and do their part.

Alternatives to Everyone

If you are unsure about which pronouns to use, or if it sounds cumbersome to use “his and her” or “his or her” in your sentence, you could substitute the word “everyone” for a more specific term. In other words, you can use a noun instead of a pronoun.

This would allow you to freely use “their” or “them” pronouns to describe the group.

For example:

Everyone should bring his or her favorite movie for the sleepover.
The girls should each bring their favorite movie for the sleepover.
Everyone will have his or her own desk.
All of the students will have their own desks.

In the above sentences, as “girls” and “students” are plural nouns, it is completely acceptable and correct to use the pronoun “their.” Remember that, especially for formal writing, we could not use “their” or “them” with “everyone” since it is not plural.

Another acceptable alternative to “everyone” is “everybody.” These two words mean exactly the same thing, and you can substitute one for the other in almost every scenario. However, you should take into account that “everybody” is more informal than “everyone.”

Even though “everybody” is more informal, it will still function as a singular indefinite pronoun. Therefore, you will still use “him or her” and singular verbs with it in a sentence the same as you would with “everyone.”

Indefinite Pronouns

An easy check to determine whether a pronoun is an indefinite pronoun or not is to look at the end of the word. Indefinite pronouns that refer to people will end in -one or -body, as is the case with “everyone” and “everybody” as well as “no one” and “nobody.” 

Indefinite pronouns that refer to things and places will end in -thing or -where, as is the case with “everything” and “everywhere” as well as “nothing,” “nowhere,” “somewhere,” and “something.” We use all indefinite pronouns with singular verbs.

The full list of indefinite pronouns includes “somebody,” “someone,” “something,” “somewhere,” “anybody,” “anyone,” “anything,” “anywhere,” “nobody,” “no one,” “nothing,” “nowhere,” “everybody,” “everyone,” “everything,” and “everywhere.” Can you see how they all follow the same pattern?

Is Everyone’s Possessive?

Why does “everyone’s” have an apostrophe? The term “everyone’s” is the possessive form of “everyone.” The apostrophe indicates possession and not the contraction “everyone is.” This form indicates that there is something that belongs to the group.

Unlike personal pronouns, many of which have very different forms in the possessive, like “my,” “mine,” “your,” “yours,” “his,” “her,” “our,” “ours,” “their,” and “theirs,” you can indicate the possessive form of indefinite pronouns with an apostrophe -s.

Here again, different pronouns can cause confusion since we can use the apostrophe -s with the personal pronouns “he” or “it” to form the contractions “he’s” and “it’s,” meaning “he has” or “he is” and “it has” or “it is” respectively.

Indefinite Pronouns and Possessive Case

Indefinite pronouns, like “everyone,” “everybody,” “anybody,” and “each,” act like most nouns by taking an apostrophe -s’ in the possessive form.

Alternative SentencePossessive Form
The fault belongs to nobody.It is nobody’s fault.
Those chairs belong to everybody.Those are everybody’s chairs.
This black cat belongs to somebody.This is somebody’s black cat
It is the duty of everyone.It is everyone’s duty.

In English, we form the plural possessive by adding just an apostrophe to the end of the plural form of the word. The reason for this is that most plural forms in English already end in -s, as that is how we form the plural – we add an -s. 

For example, the plural of the word “horse” would be “horses.” But we will never say the “horses’s paddock.” We will only add an apostrophe to indicate that the paddock belongs to all the horses, as in “The horses’ paddock.” 

However, once again, we must remember that “everyone” does not follow this rule because it is not a plural form. Therefore, you cannot say, “Everyones’ desk has a chair.” We’ll never use the word “everyone” as a plural, so the plural possessive does not apply to it. The correct sentence would be “Everyone’s desk has a chair” (source).

For an article on forming the singular, plural, and plural possessive of nouns, make sure you read our article on the difference between “years” and “year’s.”

What Does Everyone’s Mean?

In short, the word “everyone’s” means that something in the sentence belongs to the “everyone” that the sentence is referring to. It indicates possession, and whatever belongs to “everyone” can either be one or more physical objects, an idea or a thought, or an abstract concept.

Let’s look at a few example sentences:

Everyone’s name tag should be on his or her backpack.
The lessons should cater to everyone’s needs.
At this company, everyone’s office is on the same floor.
It is everyone’s responsibility to hand in his or her assignment on time.

Is It Everyone or Every One?

We have already explored the word “everyone,” but can we write it as two separate words? Here, it is important to understand that both forms of the word are correct, but they mean slightly different things.

We use “everyone” when referring to a group of people as a whole; that is why it is an indefinite pronoun. On the other hand, we use “every one” when referring to each individual person in a group (source).

For example:

Everyone has to take part in the school play.
My mom would like to thank every one of you that came to her birthday party.
There is an apple for everyone in the class.
God bless us, every one

A Word about Possessive Pronouns

Image by Olia Danilevich via Pexels

There are at least seven pronouns that we can learn in English, although some resources recognize up to ten, and there are three forms for each — namely, personal, possessive, and a possessive determiner, as you can see in the table below:

Personal PronounPossessive PronounPossessive Determiner
IMineMy
YouYoursYour
HeHisHis
SheHersHer
WeOursOur
TheyTheirsTheir
ItItsIts

Using and Forming Possessive Pronouns and Possessive Determiners

The difference between possessive pronouns and possessive determiners is that we use possessive pronouns in the place of the noun and possessive determiners before the noun itself. For example:

Possessive PronounPossessive Determiner
The red scarf is mine.My scarf is red.
The coloring book is his.His coloring book.
The cat is hers.Her cat. 
The chairs are ours, but the tables are theirs.Our chairs and their tables. 

As we can see in the above table, the possessive pronoun sometimes gets an -s added to the end of it without an apostrophe to form the possessive pronoun. 

Her – Hers
Their – Theirs
Our – Ours
Your – Yours

Pronouns are some of the most common parts of speech in English, and you will come across them and their misuse quite frequently. This article was written for strategiesforparents.com

It is not uncommon for a second language student of English to incorrectly use pronouns, and that is why it is always beneficial to invest in helpful study aids that will assist you in understanding the various parts of speech and their correct uses.

Final Thoughts

The word “everyone’s” is the possessive form of the indefinite pronoun “everyone,” which is always singular despite what you may initially think. Though it’s a pronoun, it receives an apostrophe -s because it follows the same English language rule for forming the possessive with most nouns.

The word “everyones” does not exist in the English language, and neither does “everyones’.” Here it is also useful to note that “everyone” does not have a plural form. It is an indefinite singular pronoun, which means it refers to an indefinite or unknown number of people.

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