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    #1

    all/whole

    Dear teachers,

    I know that all and whole have basically the same meaning when used with singular nouns. Are the phrases below correct and interchangeable?

    I lived all (of) the summer there.
    I lived the whole summer there.

    I haven't seen her all (of the) day (night, week, year)
    I haven't seen her the whole (of the) day (night, week, year etc)

    He means all (of) the world to her - this one sounds weird to me, but I cannot explain what's wrong with it.
    He means the whole world to her.

    I'm really confused about the last two sentences. I'd be grateful for any comments!

  1. 5jj's Avatar
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      • England
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    • Join Date: Oct 2010
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    #2

    Re: all/whole

    I lived all (of) the summer there. I lived the whole summer there.
    All fine. (Personally I’d put a one-word time adverbial of time before the time adverbial:
    I lived there all/the whole [of the] summer).

    I haven't seen her all (of the) day (night, week, year). With these particular nouns, I feel that of the is far less commonly used.
    I haven't seen her the whole (of the) day (night, week, year etc)
    . Both fine.

    He means all (of) the world to her. I feel that ' mean all the world to' is such a fixed phrase that of sounds unnatural.
    He means the whole world to her. Of would be very unnatural.

    I think that part of your problem is that some forms are more likely in certain situations than others, and even native speakers can’t always explain why. Try not to worry too much. Just collect authentic examples until you begin to feel what is acceptable.

    From: Swan, Michael (2005) Practical English Usage, Oxford: OUP (page 40):

    All of and whole can both be used with singular nouns to mean ‘complete’, ‘every part of’. […] Julie spent all (of) the summer at home. All (of) my life.
    Julie spent the whole summer at home. My whole life.

    All is not generally used before indefinite articles.
    She’s eaten a whole loaf. (NOT …all a loaf)

    With most uncountable nouns we prefer all (of)
    I’ve drunk all (of) the milk. (NOTthe whole milk)

    Instead of whole we can generally use the whole of.
    […] the whole of my life.

    Before proper nouns (names) and pronouns we always use the whole of, not whole. All (of) is also possible.
    The whole of Venice / All of Venice was under water. (NOT Whole Venice)

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