Meaning of ALL in English

I. all 1 S1 W1 /ɔːl $ ɒːl/ BrE AmE determiner , predeterminer , pronoun

1 . the whole of an amount, thing, or type of thing:

Have you done all your homework?

all your life/all day/all year etc (=during the whole of your life, a day, a year etc)

He had worked all his life in the mine.

The boys played video games all day.

They were quarrelling all the time (=very often or continuously) .

Hannah didn’t say a single word all the way back home (=during the whole of the journey) .

all of

Almost all of the music was from Italian operas.

I’ve heard it all before.

She’d given up all hope of having a child.

2 . every one of a number of people or things, or every thing or person of a particular type:

Someone’s taken all my books!

Will all the girls please stand over here.

All children should be taught to swim.

16 per cent of all new cars sold in Western Europe these days are diesel-engined.

They all speak excellent English.

all of

important changes that will affect all of us

3 . the only thing or things:

All you need is a hammer and some nails.

All I’m asking for is a little respect.

4 . formal everything:

I’m doing all I can to help her.

I hope all is well with you.

All was dark and silent down by the harbour wall.

5 . used to emphasize that you mean the greatest possible amount of the quality you are mentioning:

Can any of us say in all honesty that we did everything we could?

6 . at all used in negative statements and questions to emphasize what you are saying:

They’ve done nothing at all to try and put the problem right.

He’s not looking at all well.

‘Do you mind if I stay a little longer?’ ‘No, not at all.’

Has the situation improved at all?

7 . all sorts/kinds/types of something many different kinds of something:

Social workers have to deal with all kinds of problems.

8 . of all people/things/places etc used to emphasize that your statement is true of one particular person, thing, or place more than any other:

You shouldn’t have done it. You of all people should know that.

She did not want to quarrel with Maria today, of all days.

9 . all in all used to show that you are considering every part of a situation:

All in all, it had been one of the most miserable days of Henry’s life.

10 . for all something in spite of a particular fact:

For all his faults, he’s a kind-hearted old soul.

For all my love of landscape, nothing could persuade me to spend another day in the Highlands.

11 . in all including every thing or person:

In all, there were 215 candidates.

We received £1,550 in cash and promises of another £650, making £2,200 in all.

12 . and all

a) including the thing or things just mentioned:

They ate the whole fish – head, bones, tail, and all.

b) spoken informal used to emphasize a remark that you have just added:

And you can take that smelly old coat out of here, and all!

13 . all of 50p/20 minutes etc spoken used to emphasize how large or small an amount actually is:

The game lasted all of 58 seconds.

The repairs are going to cost all of £15,000.

14 . it’s all or nothing used to say that unless something is done completely, it is not acceptable:

Half-heartedness won’t do – it’s got to be all or nothing.

15 . give your all to make the greatest possible effort in order to achieve something:

The coach expects every player to give their all in every game.

16 . it was all I could do to do something used to say that you only just succeeded in doing something:

It was all I could do to stop them hitting each other.

17 . when all’s said and done spoken used to remind someone about an important point that needs to be considered:

When all’s said and done, he’s only a kid.

⇨ for all somebody cares at ↑ care 2 (8), ⇨ for all somebody knows at ↑ know 1 (33), ⇨ all and sundry at ↑ sundry (1), ⇨ after all at ↑ after 1 (13)

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Use a singular verb after all when you are using an uncountable or singular noun:

All the food is prepared in advance.

Use a plural verb when you are using a plural noun:

All the windows have locks.

If you are referring to a specific group or thing, use all (of) before 'the', 'my', 'these' etc:

All the money (NOT The all money) had been spent.

All of my friends were girls.

If you are referring to a type of person or thing, use all directly before an uncountable noun or plural noun:

All reptiles have scaly skin.

If you are saying that something happened continuously, use all directly before 'day', 'week' etc:

It rained all day yesterday.

When all follows a pronoun or noun referring to a group, it should come after the first auxiliary if there is one:

This is something in which we can all be involved (NOT we all can be involved).

It comes after a simple tense of 'be':

They are all lawyers.

all, whole

With a singular noun, it is possible to use whole instead of all :

a war that could destroy the whole planet

II. all 2 S1 W1 BrE AmE adverb

1 . [always + adjective/adverb/preposition] completely:

You shouldn’t be sitting here by yourself, all alone.

a strange woman, dressed all in black

If people want more freedom of choice, then I’m all for it (=I strongly support it) .

‘It was a dreadful experience.’ ‘Never mind, it’s all over (=completely finished) now.’

2 . all over (something)

a) everywhere on an object or surface:

There were bits of paper all over the floor.

He has cuts all over his legs.

She ached all over (=her whole body ached) .

b) everywhere in a place:

Antique clocks from all over the world are on display.

People came from all over the country.

They’re putting up new offices all over the place.

3 . all the better/easier/more etc used to emphasize how much better, easier etc something is than it would be in a different situation:

Clayton’s achievement is all the more remarkable when you consider his poor performance last season.

The job was made all the easier by having the proper tools.

4 . all but almost completely:

Britain’s coal industry has all but disappeared.

His left arm was all but useless.

5 . all too used to mean ‘very’ when talking about a bad situation:

All too often it’s the mother who gets blamed for her children’s behaviour.

In these conditions it was all too easy to make mistakes.

6 . all along informal all the time from the beginning while something was happening:

Chapman had known all along that the plan wouldn’t work.

We had to admit that Dad had been right all along.

7 . all round British English , all around American English

a) used to say that you are describing the general quality or effect of something:

All round it’s not a bad car.

It was a nasty business all round.

b) from everyone, for everyone, or involving everyone:

There were smiles all round.

He paid for drinks all round.

8 . one-all/two-all etc used when giving the score of a game in which both players or teams have scored the same number of points:

The game ended one-all.

9 . all told including everything or everyone:

a project costing £10,000, all told

10 . it’s all up (with somebody) informal British English used to say that someone’s success or happiness has ended:

If someone tells the police, then it’ll be all up with me.

11 . be not all there informal someone who is not all there seems stupid or slightly crazy

12 . be all smiles/innocence/sweetness etc to be showing a lot of a particular quality or type of behaviour:

The mayor and mayoress were all smiles and kisses during the grand ceremony.

13 . be all over somebody informal to be trying to kiss someone and touch them, especially in a sexual way:

Before I could speak, he was all over me.

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14 . very:

You’re getting me all confused.

15 . that’s somebody all over used to say that a particular way of behaving is typical of someone:

He was late of course, but that’s Tim all over!

16 . be all in British English to be very tired

17 . somebody was all ... American English used to report what someone said or did, when telling a story:

He drove me home, and he was all, ‘I love this car ... it’s like a rocket.’

18 . not all that not very:

It doesn’t sound all that good, does it?

I don’t think it matters all that much.

19 . somebody/something is not all that used to say that someone or something is not very attractive or desirable:

I don’t know why you keep chasing her around. She’s not all that.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.