The phrases “all of this” and “all of these” are fairly similar, but they’re not identical. It’s a simple and subtle thing that completely changes the meaning of the sentence, and this article will look into the meaning of both to help you understand them better.
What Is The Difference Between “All Of This” And “All Of These”?
“All of this” refers to multiple individual things that make up a whole of something. We use it to group things together as one complete object. “All of these” refers to multiple individual things that don’t necessarily make up the entirety of something but can be grouped.
If that doesn’t make much sense to you, then read through the following example:
Imagine your boss is pointing to a room filled with paperwork. It’s all over the desks, the chairs, and the filing cabinets. He then says:
- All of this needs to be filed away.
And in doing so, he vaguely gestures towards the room. The idea is that all of the documents and paperwork become one singular entity, though he is referring to ALL of them. The job he has given you doesn’t end until all documents are filed.
However, he might point more specifically at a certain desk or chair and say:
- All of these need to be field away.
Here, he’s separating some of the documents into an individual group and not referring to them as a whole. In this case, your job is complete once you’ve filed the documents he specifically asked for, no more and no less.
Is “All Of This” Singular Or Plural?
It’s common knowledge that “all” refers to more than one thing and usually refers to a group. However, when we use the phrase “all of this,” you might be surprised to know whether it’s singular or plural.
“All of this” is singular because it takes many different things and turns them into one individual entity. We take all of the parts and refer to the whole thing as “all of this.”
The inclusion of the word “this” is what’s most important here. Incidentally, “all of these” is plural because we’re not referring to one single group, and “these” doesn’t take on a singular form.
We can also look at the verb form we use after “all of this” to aid us:
- All of this needs to go.
“Needs” is the correct third-person singular form of the verb, which is what we’re using here.
Is “All Of This” Or “All Of These” Used The Most?
Usually, with phrases like this, we might have an obvious winner when you look at the popularity of the two. However, this doesn’t seem to be the case when we compare “all of this” with “all of these.”
If you refer to Google Ngram Viewer, you’ll notice that both phrases are almost identical in popularity. “All of these” has been more popular historically, but “all of this” has started to catch up over recent decades.
From this information, it’s clear that native speakers use both phrases. They can use them whenever they’re referring to a bulk of items as an individual element.
Examples Of How To Use “All Of This” In A Sentence
To help you understand the two phrases better, we thought some examples might help you. Once you know how it works in practice, you’ll be much more comfortable using it yourself.
- All of this needs to be out of here by tomorrow. Do you think there will be enough time?
- All of this has to go, and I’ll pay whatever I need to for that to happen.
- I can’t move all of this at once, so I’ll need to make multiple trips.
- You should have told me about all of this. Now I don’t know what to say to help you out.
- All of this could have been prevented if you had just told me the truth.
- All of this can be thrown in the trash; I don’t need it anymore.
- How can all of this be my fault? I told you that it was a stupid idea!
“All of this” is a singular phrase that we use to group many things together into one singular entity. We use it when everything in the targeted group is affected rather than just a few items.
Examples Of How To Use “All Of These” In A Sentence
“All of these” is generally the more specific phrase of the two. We use it more when we want to highlight specific things that need completing or doing.
- All of these documents need to be filed away before you can leave today.
- I can help you with all of these, but after that, you’re on your own.
- Sorry, but all of these need to be gone before I get back. You’ll have to stay until then.
- All of these were signed for, and I have proof of that.
- Can you help me with all of these? I won’t make you do everything, just this handful!
- Are all of these done already, or do I need to help you speed the process along?
- All of these are ready to be shipped off whenever you’re ready to accept them.
“All of these” is a plural phrase we use to group a certain number of items that are part of a larger group. Generally, we’ll use gestures or signals to indicate exactly which of “these” we’re talking about.
Should I Rather Use “All This” And “All These”?
While “all of this” and “all of these” are good phrases to use when you want to group specific things together, you can also remove “of” as part of the phrase.
“All this” and “all these” work in the same way as “all of this” and “all of these.” We can drop the “of” in colloquial cases, and it’s a much more acceptable way to use the phrases in spoken English.
To help demonstrate this, we can refer to Google Ngram Viewer. We included “all of this” and “all of these” to show you the difference in popularity from the previous graph. Clearly, “all this” and “all these” are much more popular options.
Examples Of How To Use “All This” In A Sentence
While we’ve shown you some examples of the phrases already, we’ll include a few more so you understand how they work without “of” in them.
- All this must go, and I’ll do whatever it takes to get rid of them.
- I can help you unload all this if you need an extra set of hands.
- All this is too difficult to deal with; I could really do with someone to help me through it.
“All this” is synonymous with “all of this,” and we use it in the singular form to refer to many items as one whole entity.
Examples Of How To Use “All These” In A Sentence
- All these must go, so if you want to take anything, you can.
- All these need to be filed, and the boss said I could leave once they’re done.
- Can you remove all these from the table and put them over there with the other stuff?
“All these” is synonymous with “all of these.” It is a plural phrase used to refer to many things that are part of a larger whole.
Is It “All These Time” Or “All This Time”?
When we include certain words after the phrases, we have to make sure we know whether we’re in the plural or singular form. We’ll show you what we mean by including “time” in the phrase.
“All this time” is correct because “all this” is singular, so we need the singular form “time” to work. “All these time” is incorrect, as we would need the plural form “times.”
- Correct: All this time, I thought you hated me!
- Incorrect: All these time, I didn’t know what to think!
If you say “all these times,” it would be correct, but otherwise, “all this time” is the answer.
- Correct: All these times, and now you tell me what you really thought!
- Incorrect: All this times, and now I see it as clear as day.
Which Is Correct: “All This While” Or “All These While”?
“All this while” is correct because “while” is a singular word. We can use it with “all this” because it is the singular form. “All these while” is incorrect, and you should not use it.
- You’ve really been there for me all this while. How can I ever repay you?
- Thank you for your help all this while! Without you, I wouldn’t know what to do!
“All Of This” And “All Of These” – Synonyms
Finally, let’s look at some synonyms and alternatives that might be slightly better if you’re not sure of the differences between “all of this” and “all of these.” These synonyms will help you to expand your vocabulary and ability.
- All of it
- This whole thing
- The entirety
- Whole contents
These synonyms work well to replace both phrases and don’t come with any of the confusing rules.
You may also like: “All Of” or “All” – Proper Grammar Explained (With Examples)
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.