When indicating quantity, or trying to bring emphasis to a number or items you have at hand, what do you say? Would you say, for example, “All Three” or “All The Three”?
Is one form correct or preferable? Should one be avoided? Let’s find out!
Grammatically, both forms are correct. You could use any and it’d be fine. However, some say that “All the Three” may sound redundant, because “All Three” already indicates all units. It’s a matter of personal opinion and preference. Both are correct.
Take a look at the examples below:
- All three shirts available are pink.
- All the three shirts available are pink.
- All the three shorts he picked are yellow.
- All three shorts he picked are yellow.
The two sets of sentences have the same content, interchanging the forms “All Three” and “All the Three”. You can see that both work well in every sentence.
Still, looking at the first set, and considering all shirts available were pink (meaning there weren’t any others available), using “All the Three” might sound excessive. It’s not wrong, but might be considered unnecessary.
On the flip side, in the second set, someone picked three yellow shorts from a larger selection. Nothing in the sentence indicates the yellow shorts were the only ones available. In this case, to use “All the Three” brings emphasis to a fact that might be relevant to the conversation.
“All Three” is an expression that indicates that all of the available items were chosen, or are being picked, or worked on. It points out the fact that a group of things are being dealt with together, at the same time.
Let’s look at some examples of “All Three” in use:
- All three phones are black, I can’t tell which is yours.
- Jenny didn’t have many options, as all three couches in the store looked the same.
- I have blue, green and orange, but Max struggles to pick between all three colors.
- All three mugs were on the shelf.
- Kyle said that all three pens on his desk failed to work.
To say “All Three” indicates that those were the only options available, representing the whole group. Every sentence in the example makes it very clear.
“All the Three” carries the same meaning as “All Three”. However, the article “the” brings more emphasis to the expression, as if the subject was trying to reinforce the fact that there were only three items involved in the conversation.
That emphasis can be useful in some cases, especially when you want to make sure your message is coming across exactly as you intended.
Let’s see some examples, to understand this concept better:
- All the three colors she had chosen looked the same.
- Gordon told her all the three flavors she liked were unavailable.
- All the three time slots that worked for her were full.
- All the three students that signed up for tutoring scored higher on their exams.
- Gabriel has three bikes, and all the three are broken.
In each of those sentences you could use only “All Three” and they would still work. They’d be grammatically correct.
However, “All the Three” adds a layer of emphasis that may be relevant. To say “All the Three” colors someone chose were the same might indicate the speaker disagrees with the choice.
Likewise, to say “All the Three” students enrolled in tutoring improved their scores not only states a fact (three students enrolled in tutoring) but also may make a case for tutoring itself – as in, “all students should do tutoring to improve their scores as well”.
The idea of giving emphasis to information you want to share may be helpful in some scenarios. Keep that in mind.
“All Three of” is just a stretched way of using the form “All Three”. It’s grammatically correct and can be used when you need help indicating which three items you’re discussing in your speech.
Here are some examples:
- All three of the options were inadequate.
- All three options were inadequate.
- All three of the dogs had jumped in the pool.
- All three dogs had jumped in the pool.
Sentences 1 and 2 share the same message, only interchanging “All Three of” and “All Three”. It works both ways, and you’d be correct using any of the forms. Just be mindful of what level of emphasis you want your sentence to have and which form you’re more comfortable using.
Just the same, “All of the Three” is a stretched form for “All the Three”. It has the same meaning and is grammatically correct. It could be a useful tool in bringing your main point into the spotlight in the sentence.
Let’s see some examples:
- All of the three cars he offered her were too big.
- All of the three candies in the vending machine had peanuts.
- All of the three candles smelled the same.
- All of the three children caught a cold at the same time.
As you can see, “All of the Three” can be helpful in bringing more emotion and drama to the sentence. If we said “All three children caught a cold at the same time”, it may sound just like a fact, a piece of emotionless information.
However, when we say, “All of the three children caught a cold”, we add a layer of emphasis that indicates the challenge it probably was, to have three kids sick at the same time.
Which one of the four forms we just looked at is used more often? Let’s look at the graph from Google Ngram Viewer below.
The simplest form, “All Three” appears much more frequently, when compared to the other three. It makes sense, considering that it’s not only simpler, but also broader in tone – in fact, it could be used in any environment and situation.
The other three forms “All the Three”, “All Three of” and “All of the Three” are not nearly as used.
Sometimes, forms have the same meaning, and we must choose which delivers the message with the tone and intention we want. “All Three” is a simple way of indicating a group, easily providing information. “All the Three” means the same, but adds a layer of emphasis which is useful sometimes.