EN: everybody's + singular or plural noun?


I have some existential problem here and need some help...

I made a translation recently from French to English and the corrector wrote on my sheet that "everybody's glasses" is definitely wrong (took away at least 4 "points fautes" for this, so: important mistake here !) and that you have to write "everybody's glass". I don't know the man, it was all done by mail (Cned system to prepare the CAPES). So I can't ask him: why the h***???
I asked my teacher at uni. He is an anglophone, born in Yorkshire, lived there for some 20 years before coming to France. So I don't doubt his skills in English... He told me that both sounded ok to him and he can't explain why "everybody's glasses" should be inherently wrong.

The whole sentence was this one: "Fill everybody's glasses !" (says a man at the bar).

Can anyone help ? Are both solutions right ? If there is one that is wrong... Then... Why ???

It's alright if you can decide without the shadow of a doubt which one is right or wrong. But I would really appreciate some sources to back your decision. This is important stuff as I'm soon taking the CAPES.

Many thanks !
  • exiled scot

    Senior Member
    For me, I would agree with your examinator. Normally, each person only has one glass (at a time), so you would say "fill everybody's glass". In French, I think it is similar: "Remplissez le verre à tout le monde" is better than "remplissez les verres à tout le monde"


    Senior Member
    French - Metropolitan France

    Est-ce que l'on dit everybody's faces or everybody's face ?

    Les deux sont-ils possibles ?


    Wordy McWordface

    Senior Member
    SSBE (Standard Southern British English)
    Yes, both singular and plural are definitely possible, with both 'everyone' and 'everybody'. It's already been discussed on the forum here:
    face or faces

    And there's an example from the BBC here:
    'It's putting a smile on everyone's faces'

    And one from the US:
    ‘It’s crazy to see everyone’s faces’: Maine public school students take off masks:
    “It’s crazy to see everyone’s faces for the first time,” said Molly Nason, a junior sitting maskless in a large assembly room for study hall on Wednesday morning. Molly is talking about lots of faces, so the plural 'faces' is entirely logical. 'Face' would not be natural in that context.

    And for the record (over 10 years late, unfortunately), the plural "Fill everybody's glasses !" is fine. There are lots of glasses and they all need filling.
    Last edited:

    Maître Capello

    Mod et ratures
    French – Switzerland
    Yes, both singular and plural are definitely possible, with both 'everyone' and 'everybody'.
    Native English speakers have mixed opinions about this question. All seem to acknowledge that both the singular and the plural are common. Some like you consider both options valid. But others consider the plural improper since everybody is singular and each person has only a single face. For example, see the various opinions in the following EO threads:
    Everybody’s car/cars has/have wheels.
    everybody's <life/lives>
    Everybody's efforts -or- Everybody's effort
    I saw smiles (a smile) on everybody's face.

    The plural is also less common than the singular – although it's gaining popularity (see Ngram). I would therefore suggest non-natives should stick to the singular.