Make Your Editor Cry: “All” and where to stick it

Make Your Editor Cry:  “All” and where to stick it

In negative statements, place the word all where it belongs. Physically stick it as closely as possible to the subject it actually modifies.

Suppose you have several bushels of apples. Suppose that some of the bushels of apples have rotten apples. But suppose some bushels are just fine with no rotten fruit.

So, in the negative, all has a very specific place it needs to appear in the sentence, which is as close to the bad apples as it can get.


All the bushels didn't have rotten apples.


The bushels didn't all have rotten apples.

In the incorrect example, the implication is that literally ALL of the bushels are just fine because ALL of them have no rotten apples whatsoever. In the correct example, you understand that some apples are rotten in some bushels while some other bushels are just fine.

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