What’s the difference between…ALL vs. WHOLE?

What’s the difference between ALL and WHOLE?

Ever wondered when you should use ALL and when you should use WHOLE? What is the difference between the two?

Both can be used with a singular noun and both mean “complete” or “every part of it”, so then why do we need both words if they mean the same?


You’ll have to read all the article or the whole article to find out.

#1 We use ALL + determiner (a, an, the, every, my, his, her) + noun.
We use determiner + WHOLE + noun.

So there is a difference between word order, when we use ALL and WHOLE.

With ALL the determiner comes just after and it comes just before with WHOLE.

For example:

  • Katie spent all the summer studying for her exam.
  • Katie spent the whole summer studying for her exam.

#2 ALL is generally not used before indefinite articles (a, an)

For example:

  • She ate the whole loaf of bread. (NOT – She ate all a loaf of bread)

#3 With uncountable nouns we prefer “ALL” instead of “WHOLE

For example:

I’ve drunk all the milk. (NOT – I’ve drunk the whole milk.)