Each – Is, Has, Was

Each of the pigs is pink.

By Annette Rey

What verb goes with each?

Since each is always singular when it is the subject of the sentence, a singular verb accompanies the word each.

Each of the boys is young.

Does it sound strange to hear boys is?

Each is the subject of the sentence, so the verb is singular.

I used that sentence as an example to help you remember the rule.

There are always better ways to construct a sentence, and the better way for your readers would be:

All of the boys are young.

Boys are sounds better to the ear, too.

Just remember, each would use is, was, has if each is the subject of the sentence.

Each boy is twelve years old.

Each of the boys is twelve years old.

Each boy was fond of dogs.

Each of the boys was fond of dogs.

Each boy has red hair.

Each of the boys has red hair.

You must use other singular references throughout your sentence, as in:

Each of the ships has its own observation deck.


Each of the ships has their own observation decks.

Singular each is also determined by the phrase that follows it – as in the examples above.

Each is followed by a prepositional phrase of the boys, of the ships.

Throughout life you will hear and see sentences where each is used with a plural verb. This is common in non-formal writing and conversation, but this usage is still incorrect per grammar rules.

It is thought that one day, the plural verb will be accepted with the word each. Until then, and if you are a writer submitting work, you best be aware of the correct choice of verb to use.

When you know what is correct, you can always break a rule based on the educational, cultural, social level of your character. In dialog, pretty much all sentence construction is free game.

You may also use incorrect grammar for your narrator if his background warrants it – think Tom Sawyer.

Keep learning.



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