When you’re using the pronoun “each”, should you say “each is” or “each are”? Which is correct?
“Each is” is considered to be the correct version of the phrase, and is always accurate when used in a sentence. This is because the word “each” is an indefinite pronoun that refers to singular subjects (individuals within a group) so it should be combined with a singular verb form.
Why Is “Each” Singular And Not Plural?
Many phrases are used so commonly and interchangeably that it can be hard to tell whether or not they are grammatically accurate. You will definitely have seen and heard both “each is” and “each are” used in a sentence – and they both sound perfectly reasonable. Technically, though, “each is” is the correct version according to standard grammatical rules.
To understand why “each is” is traditionally correct, we should take a look at exactly what is being referred to when we use the word “each”.
“Each” can seem like it is referring to a group containing multiple people, places, or things (i.e., a plural noun) but is actually referring to individual members within that group. Therefore, a singular verb is required, as you are referring to a singular subject.
“Is” is a singular verb, whereas “are” is a plural verb.
How Would You Use “Each Is” In A Sentence?
It’s always easier to understand these rules with some examples:
If I wanted to refer to individuals within a group of football players, I would use the word “each”. I would then use the phrase “each is”, as I would be talking about the individuals as singular subjects within the wider group.
- “Before a game, the players gather up in a huddle. Each is feeling both nervous and excited.”
If you were to say “each are”, you would be referring to each individual player as if he were a group by himself.
Is “Each Are” Ever Correct?
As with many grammatical rules in the English language, there is some contention between what is accepted and what is not. Some people accept “each are” as being correct when you use a plural noun or pronoun within the sentence.
- “Each of the four men are feeling very tired.”
- “Each of the essays are interesting in their own way.”
According to the traditional rule, however, this is not grammatically correct, and all of the verbs referring to “each” should be in their singular form.
Under the traditional rule, these sentences should read:
- “Each of the four men is feeling very tired.”
- “Each of the essays is interesting in its own way.”
Notice that the pronouns that refer back to “each” would also be in a singular form under the standard rule!