Expression: "He swore to kill a man..."


Could you please tell me whether I should use each or every in the following sentence?

Thanks in advance,


Hi Tom,

Surely, our natives will give you the detailed feedback but I want to add mine, if you don’t mind :wink:

To me, both every and each are appropriate.

I also think that past perfect fits better, but maybe your context justifies the usage of past simple.

I would use the past perfect if the shedding of tears had finished, at the time of “swearing”, and the past simple if it was still in progress, e.g.

  1. He thought back on the distressing scene, and swore to kill a man for every tear she had shed.

  2. The girl was still weeping. He unsheathed his scimitar and swore to kill a man for every tear she shed.

I would say that “each” and “every” were both possible. For me, “each tear” focuses on one tear, as representative of the set {all her tears}, whereas “every tear” suggests the complete set {all her tears}.

(That said, to me, “each tear” sounds a little over-precise, for the context: when swearing oaths, general sweeping bloodiness is preferable to tidy particularity.)

Best wishes,