1. Blocks of time
There are different blocks of time:
|a second||a fortnight|
|a minute||a month|
|an hour||a year|
|a day||a decade|
|a week||a century|
|a weekend||a millennium|
A time block can also be multiple (more than one):
2 weeks, 3 months, 5 years, etc.
2. When to use ‘every’
The word ‘every’ is used if you repeat the same activity in each time block.
|I eat a sandwich every day.||He goes to the cinema every month.|
|My parents call me every week.||She visits France every year.|
|I play football every weekend.||The Olympics is every 4 years.|
|I have a shower every morning.||I go to the cinema every 2 weeks.|
|Sue goes to English class every Monday.||Louis cleans the dishes every 3 days.|
|George and I speak on the phone every 3 months.||In France, there is an election every 5 years.|
|It rains every time I visit Seattle.||Saturn completes an orbit of the sun every 29.5 years.|
3. The difference between ‘every’ and ‘each’
There is a very small difference between ‘every’ and ‘each’:
every: a series of blocks, considered as a whole
each: individual units, considered individually and uniquely
In other words:
‘Every’ gets used more when all the units get treated exactly the same, with no thought about their uniqueness.
‘Each’ gets used more when each thing is considered and treated separately.
|Every shopper will receive a discount.||There are shoppers, all will get a discount, and no thought is made to think of them individually|
|I will write to each one of the patients.||The patients are considered as individuals, and each will get a note specially written for them|
|I went to school every Monday.||A series of Mondays in a calendar year.|
No thought is given to them individually.
|I went to school each Monday.||One Monday, another Monday, another Monday.|
Each Monday is considered as an individual unit.
When talking about time, ‘every’ is more common than ‘each’.
Note: if talking about time units containing multiples (e.g. 2 weeks, 5 years), use every.
|I went to the cinema every two weeks.||I went to the cinema each two weeks.|
|He moved house every five years.||He moved house each five years.|
4. Examples of frequency using ‘every’
|I go to the park every Tuesday afternoon.||This plant grows half a metre every year.|
|Rupert reads a story to his daughter every night.||After the fire, she had the same nightmare every night for two weeks.|
|When Lisa lived in Beijing, she ate hot pot every weekend.||The shop closes at 3pm every afternoon, except for Friday when it closes at 4.|
|This teams wins the league every season. It is boring now.||I go to the countryside every chance I get.|
|The company has a team building day every March.||Herman goes to the dentist every 6 months.|