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Distributive pronoun

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Title: Distributive pronoun  
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Language: English
Subject: Pronoun
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Distributive pronoun

A distributive pronoun considers members of a group separately, rather than collectively.

They include each, any, either, neither and others.

  • "to each his own" — 'each2,(pronoun)' Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary (2007)
  • "Men take each other's measure when they react." — Ralph Waldo Emerson[1]

Languages other than English

Biblical Hebrew

A common distributive idiom in Biblical Hebrew used an ordinary word for man, 'ish (איש). Brown Driver Briggs only provides four representative examples — Gn 9:5; 10:5; 40:5; Ex 12:3.[2] Of the many other examples of the idiom in the Hebrew Bible, the best known is a common phrase used to describe everyone returning to their own homes. It is found in 1 Samuel 10:25 among other places.[3]

  • איש לביתו
  • ... 'ish l'beyto.
  • ... a man to his house. [literal]
  • ... each went home. [sense]

This word, 'ish, was often used to distinguish men from women. "She shall be called Woman (אשה) because she was taken out of Man (איש)," is well known,[4] but the distinction is also clear in Gn 19:8; 24:16 and 38:25 (see note for further references).[5] However, it could also be used generically in this distributive idiom (Jb 42:11; I Ch 16:3).[6]


The most common distributive pronoun in classical Greek was hekastos (ἕκαστος, each).

See also


External links

  • Jeffrey T. Runner and Elsi Kaiser. 'Binding in Picture Noun Phrases: Implications for Binding Theory'. In Proceedings of the HPSG05 Conference. Edited by Stefan Müller. Lisbon: CSLI Publications, 2005.
  • Glossary of English Grammar Terms
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