English Learner Article All & Whole

Summary: The differences in usage between all and whole.

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These words often have the same meaning, but they are used differently.

With the definite article:

All comes before the definite article: All the time

Whole comes after the definite article: The whole time

With a possessive adjective:

All comes before a possessive adjective: All my life

Whole comes after a possessive adjective: My whole life

With a singular noun:

Whole can only be used after a definite article: The whole country (not 'Whole country')

With Plural Nouns:

They have different meanings:

All exams were affected. = Every exam was affected.
Whole exams were affected. = This doesn't mean that every exam was affected, but that some were affected completely.

With uncountable nouns:

We generally use all. We can say 'the whole of the' before an uncountable noun.

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