7.9.1.3 Ognuno, chiunque, ciascuno

These three indefinite pronouns can be used only in reference to a person. Ognuno and ciascuno have a feminine form as well (ognuna / ciascuna). Chiunque doesn't have a feminine form, it is always chiunque, it doesn' t matter whether it refers to a woman or a man.

Ognuno is the substantive version of the adjective ogni. Ognuno is a pronoun, substitutes a noun or represents all elements of a group.

Ognuno (everybody) is used when everybody can be the agent or the goal of an action.

example  
Everyone can learn to write and read, this is not difficult.  
  Ognuno può imparare a leggere e scrivere, questo non è niente di difficile.

The difference between ognuno and ciascuno is minimal. Ciascuno stresses the arbitrariness, the fact that everybody can be the agent or the goal of an action. In general ognuno can be substituted by ciascuno.

example 
Everybody can do something for the environment.  
  Ognuno può fare qualche cosa per l' ambiente.
  Everybody can do something for the environment.  
  Ciascuno può fare qualche cosa per l' ambiente.
  Everbody should know what he has to do.
  Ognuno deve sapere ciò che deve fare.
  Everbody should know what he has to do.
  Ciascuno deve sapere ciò che deve fare.


Ognuno as well as ciascuno have a masculine and a feminine form, but they don' t have, like everybody as well, a plural form.

example
maskuline ognuno ciascuno  
  feminine ognuna ciascuna

examples  
Everbody asked me the same thing.  
  Ognuno mi ha chiesto la stessa cosa. / Ciascuno mi ha chiesto la stessa cosa.

The third indefinite pronoun is chiunque. Chiunque emphasizes the fact that the executor or the goal of an action is unknown. This statement can refer to the past and to the future. In the first case, the action has been executed, but it is unknown who executed it. In the second case the action has not been executed already, in this case chiunque describes a possibility.

examples  
Whoever has said it, he is an idiot.  
  Chiunque l' abbia* detto, è un idiota.
  Whoever does it, he will have a problem.  
  Chiunque lo dica*, avrà un problema.

* Chiunque requires the conjunctive, we are going to talk about the conjunctive later. At the moment you just ignore the fact that it is a conjunctive.

The difference between chiunque and ognuno / ciascuno is very big. Ognuno / ciascuno emphasize the fact that everybody can be the executor or goal of an action. Chiunque emphasize the fact that this author or goal is unknown. It is obvious that in the table below the two sentences doesn't mean the same thing and that the second sentence is absurd. But in some cases, even chiunque can be substituted. If whoever can be substituted by everybody, this substitution is possible as well in Italian.

examples  
Whoever robed my burse, he is an asshole.  
  Chiunque mi abbia rubato il mio portamonete, è uno stronzo.
  not: Everybody who robed my burse is an asshole.  
  not: Ognuno che mi abbia rubato il mio portamonete, è uno stronzo.
examples
Everybody who helps him, is a good person . / Whoever helps him is a good person.  
  Chiunque lo aiuti* è un buon uomo.
Ognuno che l' aiuta è un buon uomo.
Qualsiasi persona che lo aiuti* è un uomo buono.

* aiutare = to help requires the accusative in Italian (l' aiuta = he helps him).

The fact that sometimes one indefinite pronoun can be substituted by another suggests that they are always interchangeable. They are not. Even if that is possible in some context, in another context you can produce an absurd sentence if you use the wrong indefinite pronoun. Another example from a Italian grammar, Luca Serianni, Grammatica Italiana, Torino, 2005, page 301

examples
Chi era al telefono? Non lo so, ma chiunque fosse, era un maleducato.
  Who was at the phone ?
  I don' t know, but whoever he was, he was ill-bred.

It is clear, that in this case chiunque can not be substituted by ognuno.





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