Anyone and Everyone Are Welcome

By Maeve Maddox

A reader asks for clarification regarding the use of the phrase “anyone and everyone” in such sentences as these:

Everyone knows they love to talk on the phone to anyone and everyone.

Anyone and everyone is [sic] to speak to you on the phone.

You will speak to anyone and everyone who might listen.

Anyone means “an individual person”:
“I will give a free book to anyone in the audience who can solve this problem.”
—Only one person or a selected few (depending upon how the problem is presented) will win the book.

Everyone means “every person in a group”:
“Everyone in the audience received a video recorder.”
—All of the audience members received a free recording device.

The combination “anyone and everyone” is used in the context of a welcome or invitation as a way to emphasize inclusivity, as in these examples from the Web:

Anyone and Everyone are invited to join the server after we open, which is very soon. 

Anyone and everyone are invited to Roundtable. 

Anyone and everyone are welcome to come hack on things.

Sometimes the phrase is used in the sense of “people in general” or “people of no specific qualifications”:

Today anyone and everyone can set up an online business.
 
Amazon also maintains a flourishing side enterprise in self-publishing, where anyone and everyone can write an e-book.

And sometimes, especially when preceded by just, “anyone and everyone” occurs in the context of exclusion:

If just anyone and everyone are too easily included, we are saying in effect that anything goes. 

We don’t want just anyone and everyone, just a select few.

We will not sign on just anyone and everyone. We demand the best.

We don’t work for just anyone and everyone.

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5 Responses to “Anyone and Everyone Are Welcome”

  • Faith

    However…I’ve always treated anyone and everyone as collective in most cases, and thus requiring a singular verb. Is anyone interested? Is everyone ready. Everyone is invited. Or: Everyone needs to sit down right NOW.

  • Paul Goble

    I am accustomed to seeing the phrase with a singular verb: “Anyone and everyone is welcome to attend this event.” A Google search shows an approximately 40:1 preference for the singular. (I realize that Google is no longer as reliable as it once was for corpus analysis, but this is a rather convincing result.)

  • Rich Wheeler

    We have two issues regarding the plurality of the verb, the numbers of the pronouns and the number of the two pronouns together.

    “Anyone” stresses that no criteria will exclude an individual whereas “everyone” stresses that each individual in a group effects or is affected by an action. Both, however, focus on individuality — the One — most of the time.

    Thus, we could break them into “any individual” and “every individual,” and when determining the number of the verb, we should look at the noun, one, rather than on the modifier, any or every.

    “Anyone and everyone” can deceive one into using a plural verb because the construction looks like it identifies two people. However, both conditions identify the same person.

    For the algebraically inclined, here’s a shortcut explanation:

    Any One + Every One = (Any + Every) One = One*
    where One* is an element of the combined sets of {Any} and {All}

    Consider the example of “they love to talk on the phone to anyone and everyone.” Most of the time, “they” talk to one person on one phone at a time. Again, focus on “one,”

    An exception occurs when “they” speak to multiple people in an audience or via a conference call, but that would normally be clarified in the sentence or in the context.

    Therefore, the vast majority of the time, the phrase takes a singular verb.

    But then again, grammarians are not always logical. If the were, they would have studied STEM instead of English.

  • Maeve

    Logic aside, “are” following even a compound subject “anyone and everyone” does not sound right.

    What does PreciseEdit say?

  • Agua Caliente

    The usual confusion with collectives. Each and every one of us is responsible. Are responsible? All of us are responsible!

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