Is “Who All” Grammatically Correct?

You may have seen or heard the term “who all” in English and been confused as to the meaning. This page explains whether “who all” is grammatically correct and shows how it can be used in a sentence.

Is “Who All” Grammatically Correct?

The term “who all” can be grammatically correct in certain situations, such as relative clauses. However, in some places like the US, it is used to ask “you all” or “who among all of you”, in which case it is not grammatically correct and is regarded as informal.

who all

When used as part of a regular sentence or in relative clauses, it is perfectly acceptable to use “who all”, as shown in these examples:

  • I told the students, who all failed the exam, that they needed to work harder.
  • There are 200 members of staff who all belong to a trade union.
  • I wrote to one hundred people requesting permission for a community garden, who all replied and gave me their blessing.

However, mainly in the US, the term “who all” is also used informally to express things like:

  • Who all knows?
  • Who all gonna be there?
  • Who all is coming?

Which in written English would be written as:

  • Who knows?
  • Who is going to be there?
  • Who is coming?

As mentioned, this particular “who all” usage is somewhat informal and rarely appears in published written English. The place where you would be most likely to hear these kinds of expressions is in the southern states of the USA.

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What Does “Who All” Mean?

The term “who all” can have several meanings depending on how it is used. The conventional use is to express that “all the people” you are referring to did something or share a common characteristic or trait.

Such as in these examples:

  • I wrote to three MPs, who all ignored my request for an inquest.
  • Today, I saw my cousins, who all live in the USA, for the first time in years.

However, in the United States, particularly in the south, it is common to use “who all” to mean “you all”, “are you all?”, or “who among all of you?” It should be noted that this usage is informal, and you would rarely see it in published written English.

Therefore, you may hear the phrase “who all” being used as:

  • Who all coming with me for lunch?
  • Who all wants a drink?

Which in written or more “formal” English would look like this:

  • Who is coming with me for lunch?
  • Who wants a drink?
  • Who would like a drink?
  • Which of you wants a drink?

Who All Is or Who All Are?

The terms “who all is?” and “who all are?” are informal ways of asking something like “who is?” or “which of you?”.

“Who all is?” refers to singular subjects, often single people from amongst a group.

“Who all are” refers to plural subjects, often multiple people from a group or groups of people. Their difference is sometimes negligible because they are usually used interchangeably without much difference in meaning.

For example, there is not a great deal of difference between the phrases if you ask a group of people, “who is coming to the party?”

  • Who all is coming?
  • Who all are coming?
  • Who all is gonna help me?
  • Who all wants chocolate cake?

Final Thoughts

There are many situations in which “who all” is correct, for example, in relative clauses. In some parts of the world, people use “who all is/are?”  to ask “who is/are?” or “which of you?” This usage is considered informal and appears more in spoken or informal messaging.