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All and Whole

Common mistake  
 
Native speakers of other languages mix these two up all the time when they speak English.
 
All and whole have very specific roles in situations. 
 
A thing to remember about all versus whole is where to put the definite article the.
 
So it is always all the whatever you are talking about.
  • All the eggs are broken. (everything, one, etc.)
  • All the football players get paid too much.
  • All the games you played as a child are boring as an adult.
The whole whatever you are talking abou we use the before whole.
  • The whole meal was spoiled. (complete, package, group etc.)
  • The whole company got a bonus at Christmas.
  • I loved you the whole time we were together.
They sound a little bit similar, ”all”, ”whole”, but they are not.

What’s the difference between all and whole?

Whole, you are talking about a complete something, a complete package, a complete group, a complete container of something.
 
So remember it has to be complete to use the word whole.
 
All, you are talking about everything, all of it. It is everything that’s involved with that noun.
  • The baby cried all the time. (All the time doesn’t mean crying every minute. It means the baby cried then stopped, then cried again on and off thoughout the trip). 
  • The baby cried the whole time. (It means crying every minute non-stop).
  • I slept all night.
  • I slept the whole night.

What’s the difference between these two?

  • All my friends came. (talking about individuals) The possessive adjective (my, his, your, etc.) comes after all .
  • My whole group of friends came. (talking about the group) The possessive adjective (my, his, your, etc.) comes before whole.
  • All cities were destroyed. (It means no more cities, every city – destroyed.)
  • Whole cities were destroyed. (It means some cities were completely destroyed.)
With non countable nouns (water, tea, beer etc.), you’re usually going to use all with a singular.
  • All the beer had been drunk.
  • All the water was gone.
With countable noun, you’re usually going to use whole with a singular. We only use all of with an object pronoun - all of them, all of it, all of us.
  • All of us got drunk on beer.
  • All of the cake was eaten.
  • All students need to come to class early tomorrow.
  • The whole class needs to come early tomorrow.
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