This is topic Every ______ a _______ in forum Books, Films, Food and Culture at Hatrack River Forum.

To visit this topic, use this URL:;f=2;t=060228

Posted by SenojRetep (Member # 8614) on :
There is a common grammar construction: Every <blank> a <blank>. Mormons know it well from the phrase "Every member a missionary", but it arises in other contexts as well. The vision statement for my group at work follows this construction, but my boss claims (I think incorrectly) that it requires a mid-phrase comma "Every <blank>, a <blank>".

Thoughts? Pointers to authoritative grammar blogs, FAQs, or rules would be helpful, as would personal opinions, or other examples of the construction or information on what the proper grammatical terminology for that construction is.
Posted by Szymon (Member # 7103) on :

I don't know how authoritative this is, but I guess theoy wouldn't make mistakes in a book title, plus, it's a quote from Jefferson.

Plus, a quick swipe of google scholar shows no commas. That would be my bet.
Posted by JonnyNotSoBravo (Member # 5715) on :
"Every man a king." - Huey Long, 1934

The examples I've come across have never included a comma.

And we can narrow <blank> down to nouns.
Posted by SenojRetep (Member # 8614) on :
Thanks for the inputs. He relented in the end and allowed that the comma was unnecessary.
Posted by FlyingCow (Member # 2150) on :
I think if you're using it to make the second word rename the first, you don't necessarily need it.

So, the "every member a missionary" is like saying "every member is a missionary" or "make every member a missionary".

But if you're trying to apportion one of the second word to each first word, it feels like you'd need it.

So, "every guest, a meal" is like saying "for every guest, a meal" which is an inversion of "a meal for every guest".

That's in no way authoritative, but I could see where a comma might clarify things depending on usage.
Posted by Jon Boy (Member # 4284) on :
I don't think there's a name for this specific construction, but it's an example of ellipsis—that is, omission of some words that are understood in context.

Copyright © 2008 Hatrack River Enterprises Inc. All rights reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.

Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.2