I can't seem to find a translation for "everyone's" as in "They took everyone's phones." Is there a word for this?

2 Answers 2


We usually translate "everyone/everybody " either "все" or "каждый" meaning the whole group or each person separately.

Телефоны отобрали у всех.

Каждому дали книгу.

  • So there is no single word for the possessive "everyone's" (as in "everyone's car")?
    – casey
    Jun 21, 2017 at 11:07
  • @casey don't you think there is a conflict of concepts here? "everyone's car" is a single car shared by many (town's bicycle). "everyones' phones" are many phones, each one exclusively owned by somebody. Those are different ideas, and I think they are conveyed differently in Russian.
    – Arioch
    Jun 21, 2017 at 16:26
  • @Arioch "Everyone's cars" and "everyone's car" mean the same thing to me (not one car, but many). My question was whether or not there was a single word for them. I know that чей-нибудь is "anyone's" so I was wondering if there was an analog to that.
    – casey
    Jun 21, 2017 at 16:38
  • There is also "no one's" - ничей. There is also "общий" - "common", (like public, shared thing). /// "That everyone's car standing by that tree" ?
    – Arioch
    Jun 21, 2017 at 16:40
  • See, so you say that singular "car" becomes plural "cars" when some certain singular pronoun "everyone's" added... Look, I combine a singular noun with a singular pronoun and in the end I end with a plural noun in essence? This sounds very exotic idea to me, so I think this use of pronouns is exotic thing, specific to English (or maybe all Germanic languages)? I guess in Russian the singular "phone" would not be plural. Uncountable maybe (designated the whole class/concept/category of phones - like "Phone invention changed the world"), but not plural specific real objects.
    – Arioch
    Jun 21, 2017 at 16:43

You don't use possessives in Russian the same way as you do in English. We often express possession by using the genitive case:

teacher's book = книга учителя
John's car = машина Джона

Depending on the context, you can sometimes say "телефон каждого (человека)" to mean "everyone's phone". For example,

Телефон каждого (человека) может быть прослушан. = Everyone's phone can be bugged.

But Russian doesn't use possessives as much as English. For example, you normally say "Я почистил зубы" (= I brushed my teeth.), and not "Я почистил мои/свои зубы."

You often use the structure "у меня/у тебя/у него etc." instead of possessive pronouns in Russian:

У меня болит шея. = My neck hurts.
У неё сломалась машина. = Her car broke down.
У него украли бумажник. = His wallet got stolen.
У меня зазвонил телефон. = My phone started ringing.
They took everyone's phones. = (Они) у всех забрали телефоны.

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