I got a question from the Peanut Gallery. Joe “HHBL” in Houston asks:
Should it be “… known each other all of their lives” or “… known each other all their lives”?
There are a few general Rules of Thumb for this topic:
If the next phrase is a singular noun, especially if it describes a quantity, keep the word “of.”
All of the candy
All of the Girl Scout cookies
All of the ice cream
If the next phrase is a plural noun, don’t use the word “of.”
All the lonely people! Where DO they all come from?
Where have all the flowers gone?
If the next word is a subject or object pronoun, keep the word “of.”
All of you
All of it
All of us
If the next word is a possessive pronoun, don’t use the word “of.”
All my trials
All his accomplishments
In Joe’s case, Rule #4 applies, so “all their lives” would work.
He could also say “… known each other their whole lives” or “their entire lives.”
Profound Quote of the Day:
“Many men go fishing all their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.”
– Henry David Thoreau, American Author, 1817-1862