Grammar Monster
Grammar Monster

All and All Of

The Quick Answer
Use all of before words like us, you, it, him, and her (i.e., pronouns). For example:
  • All of us
For normal nouns, just use all (instead of all of). For example:
  • All the cheese
  • All the soldiers

Using All and All Of

There is often confusion over all and all of. As a very general guideline, use all of when the next word is a pronoun (e.g., us, you, it, him, her). For example:
  • All of us...
  • All of you...
  • All of it...
There is no need to use all of for normal nouns. You can just use all. For example:

  • All the soldiers...
  • All the nurses...
  • I need all of the chairs.
  • (The word chairs is not a pronoun. This is not wrong, but it is not as succinct as all the chairs. The word of does not add anything. It is redundant.)
  • All of the divers returned safely.
  • (The word of is redundant.)

    Not a Rule but a Guideline

    The word all is used as either an indefinite adjective (e.g., all the soldiers) or an indefinite pronoun (e.g., all of the soldiers).

    As indefinite adjectives are not generally used to modify pronouns, terms like all us are wrong. With nouns, however, you have a choice of constructions:
    • Choice 1: All the soldiers
    • (This is all as an indefinite adjective.)
    • Choice 2: All of the soldiers
    • (This is all as an indefinite pronoun.)
    For many, all the soldiers seems less clumsy than all of the soldiers, but both are acceptable.