"All Of" or "All" - Proper Grammar Explained (With Examples) (2023)

In the English language, there are phrases that differ by just one small preposition, but this preposition determines whether your sentence is grammatically correct. So, sometimes it’s confusing whether to use the phrase with the preposition or not. Like, is it ‘all of’ or just ‘all?’ Let’s explore and see.

Is It ‘All Of’ Or ‘All?’

‘All of’ and ‘all are both grammatically correct and appropriate. If a noun is preceded by a determiner like ‘my’ or ‘the,’ we use either ‘all’ or ‘all of.’ We also use ‘all of’ for pronouns. If a noun does not have a determiner, we use ‘all’ only.

"All Of" or "All" - Proper Grammar Explained (With Examples) (1)

To understand the difference better, let’s explain the role of ‘all/all of’ as it interacts with different nouns and pronouns.

‘All’ acts as a determiner for nouns that do not have a determiner. This is why ‘of’ is omitted since the determiners stand alone the same way ‘my friends’ or ‘the friends’ works. However, for pronouns, ‘all’ acts as a pronoun, which is specified further by ‘of + pronoun.’ For nouns with determiners, ‘all of’ acts as a predeterminer that further specifies what the phrase means. In using ‘all’ as a predeterminer, ‘all’ and ‘all of’ both work. This also determines in which cases are they interchangeable and not.

Take a look at the examples below.

  • Correct: All of my friends are at the venue.
  • Correct: All my friends are at the venue.

Here, ‘friends’ is preceded by ‘my,’ making ‘all of’ a predeterminer. ‘All’ and ‘all of’ are interchangeable.

  • Correct: All of them are done eating.
  • Incorrect: All them are done eating.

In these next two sentences, what we have is a pronoun. In these cases, only ‘all of’ is grammatically correct. It is also essential to note that, this works best with object pronouns like ‘them.’ If using subject pronouns like ‘they,’ the sentence is rearranged as ‘They are all done eating.’

  • Correct: All humans need sleep.
  • Incorrect: All of humans need sleep.

In the sentences above, the word ‘humans’ does not have any predeterminer. In this case, ‘all of’ becomes grammatically incorrect, and only ‘all’ is correct and appropriate.

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When Should I Use ‘All’ Instead Of ‘All Of?’

We use ‘all’ instead of ‘all of’ when dealing with nouns that do not have determiners. For example, we say ‘all people’ instead of ‘all of people.’ ‘All’ is also interchangeable with ‘all of’ for nouns with determiners. Like, ‘all of my friends’ and ‘all my friends’ work.

We use ‘all’ when talking about all things that belong to a particular kind. In this sense, we do not say ‘all of things’ but only ‘all things.’ So, if we refer to humans, we say ‘all humans’ and not ‘all of humans.’ The same rule goes when talking about the total amount of a substance. So, ‘all water’ is correct, but ‘all of water’ is incorrect. Take a look at the example below.

  • Correct: All water on Earth takes part on the water cycle.
  • Incorrect: All of water on Earth takes part on the water cycle.

A special exception to this is ‘humanity’ as saying ‘all humanity’ and ‘all of humanity’ works and are both grammatically correct.

The second instance we use ‘all’ is for nouns with determiners. For nouns that have determiners already like ‘this’ or ‘my’ or ‘the,’ ‘all/all of’ acts as a predeterminer that further specifies what we are talking about. Since the phrase becomes a predeterminer, ‘of’ is omittable and both ‘all’ and ‘all of’ works in this case. Take a look at the example below.

  • Correct: All of the food is at the dining table.
  • Correct: All the food is at the dining table.

In the example above, it is also essential to note that the phrase without ‘of’ is preferred by most in this context. Using ‘all of’ for words with determiners may sound unnatural to some English speakers.

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Examples of Using ‘All’ in a Sentence

Below are examples of using ‘all’ in a sentence.

  1. All my relatives are attending the party.
  2. All humans find time to build relationships.
  3. All my classmates finished their tasks.
  4. All these gifts are for you.
  5. I’m here to pick up my mom’s order. Is this all of it?
  6. All of them left their trash on the table.

When Should I Use ‘All Of?’

We use ‘all of’ when dealing with pronouns, especially object pronouns. So, we say ‘all of them’ and not ‘all them.’ ‘All of’ is also interchangeable with ‘all’ when dealing with words with determiners. So, ‘all of the team’ works as well as ‘all the team.’

‘All of’ is non-interchangeable when we use it with pronouns, and it’s always only ‘all of’ that works with pronouns, especially object pronouns. When used with a pronoun, ‘all’ becomes a pronoun, and the phrase ‘of + pronoun’ is what specifies it further.

In this case, ‘all’ as a pronoun cannot stand alone and does not function the same way that ‘all’ functions as a determiner. Therefore, we can only use ‘all of’ with pronouns.

Take a look at the example below.

  • Correct: All of us are going on a vacation.
  • Incorrect: All us are going on a vacation.

It is also essential to note that this rule is seen more evidently with object pronouns like ‘us’ and ‘them.’ For subject pronouns like ‘we’ or ‘they,’ we usually rearrange the phrase as ‘[Pronoun] [Verb] All.’ So, ‘All of us’ becomes ‘We are all going on a vacation.’

We also use ‘all of’ with nouns with determiners. For nouns with determiners, ‘all’ acts as a predeterminer. As a predeterminer, ‘all’ can stand alone, but it doesn’t necessarily need to stand alone. So, the phrase can either be used as ‘all of’ or just ‘all.’ ‘All the people’ and ‘all of the people’ both work. Take a look at the example below.

  • Correct: All of the team we have practice tomorrow.
  • Correct: All the team will have practice tomorrow.

Though, take note that, in this context, ‘all’ without ‘of’ is preferred, and using ‘all of’ may sound unearthly and inappropriate to some English speakers or natives.

Examples of Using ‘All Of’ in a Sentence

Below are examples of using ‘all of’ in a sentence.

  1. I love all of you.
  2. All of us need to attend the seminar.
  3. All of these people are new faces to me.
  4. All of the team will have a game tomorrow.
  5. Can’t we just ignore what all of them are saying?
  6. You can eat all of it because I’m already full.

Is It ‘All Our’ Or ‘All Of Our?’

‘All of our’ is the grammatically correct phrase. ‘Our’ is an object pronoun, and for object pronouns, only the phrase ‘all of’ is grammatically correct and appropriate. Thus, we say ‘all of our relatives,’ ‘all of our food,’ and the like. In this case, we cannot use ‘all.’

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Take a look at these examples below.

  • All of our food was infested by ants.
  • All of my relatives will attend my cousin’s wedding.

Is It ‘All The’ Or ‘All Of The?’

‘All the’ and ‘all of the’ are both grammatically correct and appropriate in this context. ‘The’ is a determiner, so here, ‘all’ acts as the predeterminer. When acting as a predeterminer, ‘all’ and ‘all of’ both work. However, ‘all the’ is more preferred.

Take a look at these examples below.

  • All of the bread started growing molds.
  • All the company will go on a team-building workshop.

Is It ‘All This’ Or ‘All Of This?’

‘Both ‘all this’ and ‘all of this’ are grammatically correct, given any context. Like ‘the,’ ‘this’ is a determiner, so using it with ‘all,’ ‘all’ becomes the predeterminer. As a predeterminer, ‘all’ and ‘all of’ both work. However, ‘all this’ is preferred.

Take a look at these examples below.

  • Who is the owner of all this?
  • May I know where you bought all of this?

Is It ‘All These’ Or ‘All Of These?’

‘Both ‘all these’ and ‘all of these’ are grammatically correct. Like ‘the’ and ‘this,’ ‘these’ is another common determiner. The rule is that ‘all’ becomes a predeterminer when paired with a determiner like ‘these.’ As a predeterminer, both ‘all’ and ‘all of’ work. However, ‘all these’ is preferred.

Take a look at these examples below.

  • I prepared all these foods for you.
  • All of these jewelry pieces are the epitome of dainty.

Is It ‘All My Questions’ Or ‘All Of My Questions?’

‘All my questions’ and ‘all of my questions’ are both correct and work in the given context. ‘My’ is another common determiner. When using ‘all’ in this phrase, ‘all’ becomes a predeterminer, which takes form, either as ‘all’ or ‘all of.’ However, ‘all my questions’ is preferred.

Take a look at these examples below.

  • Is there anyone who can answer all my questions?
  • All of my questions were left unanswered until the end.

"All Of" or "All" - Proper Grammar Explained (With Examples) (2)

Martin Lassen

Martin holds a Master’s degree in Finance and International Business. He has six years of experience in professional communication with clients, executives, and colleagues. Furthermore, he has teaching experience from Aarhus University. Martin has been featured as an expert in communication and teaching on Forbes and Shopify. Read more about Martin here.

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