Every time we confront problems concerning language, especially those that involve apostrophes, we feel like drifting out in a stormy, open sea.
Desperately flailing our arms around, grasping for anything to help us breathe.
It’s a case of swim or sink; we must learn in order to survive. But don’t despair, hope isn’t out of reach.
Come and join me in this article as we take a closer look at the correct usage of the words “everyone’s” and “ everyones’” and even “everyones.”
Ready or not, here we go.
Which one is correct: “everyone’s,” “everyones’” or “everyones”?
“Everyone’s,” the one with an apostrophe before the letter “s,” is the correct choice. Neither “everyones’” nor “everyones” are correct because the pronoun “everyone” is never expressed in plural form. Although “everyone” refers to “a group of people,” it is treated as a singular, collective entity.
The indefinite pronoun “everyone”
Nouns are important parts of speech because, without them, we simply can’t name people, places, things, and ideas.
There are times, though, when we need to steer clear of nouns; like regular employees, these workhorses need to take a break too.
When that happens, pronouns come into the picture and replace nouns either as subjects or objects in a sentence.
There are several types of pronouns, but we’ll only focus on indefinite ones to make today’s topic clearer.
An indefinite pronoun is one that only vaguely or generally refers to the words they replace rather than give specifics.
Put simply, they are called “indefinite” because they are “non-specific” entities.
They may also suggest singularity, plurality, or even nullness in grammatical number.
“Someone,” “somebody,” “no one,” and “nobody” are some examples of indefinite pronouns in English.
Meanwhile, words like “who” “that” and “which” are what we refer to as relative pronouns.
When it comes to punctuation use, a comma comes before a relative pronoun when it introduces a piece of “additional” information.
This additionally-added information that enriches the sentence’s meaning is also known as a “relative clause.”
This also means that a comma should come before a relative clause when it is grammatically non-essential.
This rule can be flexibly applied to other pronouns used to introduce ideas that are only meant to enrich the sentence’s meaning.
“Everyone” is also an indefinite pronoun. It is used 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 a subject or object in a sentence.
The indefinite pronoun “everyone” is a singular term and always takes a singular verb.
Everyone knows James and Will are the culprits even before the investigation started.
He tells stories of his sincerity to his wife, and everyone laughs behind his back.
Everyone always plays along when it comes to pranks against Beatty.
In addition to that, since “everyone” refers to a group as a whole, we are never certain that it refers to men only or women only.
This means that “everyone” is a genderless word and can be used for generic references.
To avoid confusion, it is recommended to add the pronouns “his or her” whenever “everyone” is used.
Just take care that you avoid using “their” because it indicates plurality and “everyone” is singular.
Everyone must take his or her stand and defend his or her chosen side. (correct)
For the sleepover, everyone should bring his or her favorite pajamas. (correct)
On that day, everyone must have his or her own story to tell. (correct)
“Everyone’s” in its possessive form
Depending on the sentence structure, “everyone’s” could indicate either possession or contraction.
When used in its possessive form, it means that something or someone belongs to “everyone.”
The next example shows that the word “friend” belongs to “everyone.” This is just another way of saying “the friend of everyone.”
The apostrophe in the case above indicates possession and not a contraction; this very concept makes things awry.
Personal pronouns have different forms in the possessive like your, yours, his, hers, my, mine, their, theirs, and its.
However, indefinite pronouns like “everyone” show possession by adding an apostrophe and the letter “s.”
Here are more examples to make the explanation clearer:
An opinion that belongs to everyone = everyone’s opinion
It is the duty of everyone. = It’s everyone’s duty.
That cat belongs to everyone. = That’s everyone’s cat.
The dream belongs to everyone. = It’s everyone’s dream.
What we have on our plate today may seem all too easy on the surface. In reality, there is more than what meets the eye about today’s topic.
You may also check out our related post titled “Happy New Years” vs. “Happy New Year” to make things even more mind-boggling.
“Everyone’s” in its contracted form
At other times, “everyone’s” may also be used as a contraction. It means the same as “everyone is” or even “everyone has.”
Contraction means a letter was omitted to make the expression shorter and more convenient to use, especially when speaking.
In the next example, “everyone’s” is used to shorten “everyone is,” which is largely noticed in casual language use.
The example above should read as “Everyone is struggling to survive” in more formal language contexts.
Meanwhile, in the next example, “everyone’s” is used to make “everyone has” shorter:
Everyone’s been too busy these days.
The example above would be written as “Everyone has been too busy these days” in proper language use.
The difference between the possessive and contracted meaning of “everyone’s” is as clear as day for native speakers.
However, this distinction may not be that easy to note for non-natives who are not frequently exposed to English.
The way to tell the difference lies in one’s fundamental knowledge of English grammar and syntax.
To make things worse, the difference between “grammar” and “syntax” is another uncanny thing to understand.
Once these things get addressed, and one gets more exposed to the language itself, everything else follows.
To make things less vague, one hack we can bear in mind is to take note of the part of speech of the word after “everyone’s.”
When that word is a noun, “everyone’s” is in its possessive form, just like in the next few examples.
Everyone’s decision is unanimous. (noun)
The management has high regard for everyone’s privacy. (noun)
If the word that comes after “everyone’s” is either a verb, adverb, or adjective, then that’s the contracted form.
Everyone’s already tired. (adverb)
Everyone’s agitated at the triage station. (adjective)
Adverbs and verbs may also come together in a sentence.
If you want to know the guiding rules for this placement, feel free to read our previous post here: “Should an adverb go before or after a verb?”
“Everyones’” and “Everyones” are incorrect
Before comparing “everyones” vs. “everyones’,” it would be best to compare “everyone” and “everyones.”
As mentioned before, everyone is an indefinite pronoun that refers to a group of people without specifying who they are.
For this reason, “everyone” is to be taken as singular in number all the time and never plural.
Subjects that are singular in grammatical number need to take singular verbs, except for pronouns “I” and “you.”
Now, if “everyone” is to be singular always, it is against this rule to create a plural form of everyone by adding an “s” at the end of it.
“Everyones,” therefore, is a misprint as no such word exists in the English language. In other words, using “everyones” is incorrect.
If “everyones” is not a logically valid word, then the possessive form “everyones’” will never make sense either.
The confusion here goes back to the contradictory nature of the singularity of “everyone,” which is simply a wholistic reference.
To avoid future mistakes, never, ever think that “everyone” is plural in grammatical number.
Instead, think of it as a single unit that would also suggest the same meaning as “every person” or “everybody.”
“Everyone” is collective in nature and should always remain as such based on English language conventions.
Frequently Asked Questions on “everyone’s,” “everyones’” or “everyones”
What is the plural form of “everyone”?
There is no plural form of the indefinite pronoun “everyone.” Therefore, we cannot pluralize this word by adding the letter “s” at the end of it. What we can use instead to suggest plurality is “all people” or “the masses.”
Should we say “everyone’s help” or “everyones help”?
To use “everyone’s” possessive form, we should say “everyone’s help” and not “everyones help.” An apostrophe is necessary for this expression to suggest the idea of belongingness or possession.
Do we say “everyone has” or “everyone have”?
“Everyone” is a singular indefinite pronoun and should take a singular verb. This means that “everyone has” and not “everyone have” is the grammatically correct choice.
English is a unique language that is influenced by many factors throughout history.
The confusion among “everyone’s,” “everyones’,” and “everyones” goes to show that languages can really be mysterious.
Since that is the case, then we have to be thankful that language scholars exist to make these things less annoying.
Hey fellow Linguaholics! It’s me, Marcel. I am the proud owner of linguaholic.com. Languages have always been my passion and I have studied Linguistics, Computational Linguistics and Sinology at the University of Zurich. It is my utmost pleasure to share with all of you guys what I know about languages and linguistics in general.