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Hi teachers,
Which part of speech is 'all' in the following sentence? Is it an adverb? If that is so, could you tell me a synonym?
Theyare all five years old.
Thanks in advance
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Interesting question. Quirk et al list it as a postposed predeterrminer or pronoun here. However, they say that when in this structure 'all' takes the position of a medial adverb:

They all won their matches.
We were all fast asleep.
The villages have all been destroyed.
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Hi Mister Micawber,
Thank you for your reply and examples.
Is it a book 'Quirk et al list'?

So 'all' is an adverb, in your examples it modifies the verbs, doesn't it?
Does in mine modify the adjective 'five'? They are all five years old.
Is there a synonym for 'all' here, or it is just used for emphasis?

Thanks
Quirk, Greenbaum, Leech & Svartvik, A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language.

No, 'all' is not an adverb: it is determiner that takes the same location as an adverb in such sentences when it postmodifies. At least, that is what the book says.

They are all five years old. Is there a synonym for 'all' here, or it is just used for emphasis?-- For emphasis, I think, yes.

They are all, each and every one of them, five years old.
Hi Mister Micawber,
Thank you very much for your reply.
It has to be a very good grammar book.

Best,
TS
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"All" in this sentence is a postposed predeterminer because it is modifying the subject, "they." It qualifies "they" but occurs after the verb instead of before the noun it modifies. You can imagine this sentence as equivalent to "All of them are five years old."

In other words, it is an adjective being used in an adverb's location in the sentence.

anonymous

In other words, it is an adjective being used in an adverb's location in the sentence.

No, it is not an adjective. See my next comment.

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anonymous

"All" in this sentence is a postposed predeterminer because it is modifying the subject, "they." It qualifies "they" but occurs after the verb instead of before the noun it modifies. You can imagine this sentence as equivalent to "All of them are five years old."

They are all five years old.

No: "all" is not a predeterminer here and it is not modifying "they".

"All" belongs here to the category (part of speech) 'determinative'. It is separable and not part of the subject NP but an adjunct in clause structure.

By contrast, compare I have considered all your proposals, where the underlined sequence is an NP in which the determinative all functions as predeterminer. We can gloss it for comparative purposes as “the entirety of your proposals”.