What Does All of the Above Mean?

All of the Above Meaning

Definition: All of the aforementioned choices.

The phrases all of the above and its opposite phrase none of the above refer to options or choices which have been mentioned previously.

People tend to use these phrases to express their approval or disapproval of a set of choices that has been provided to them. These phrases are also included in the answer choices for multiple choice test questions to indicate that all or none of the provided answer choices are correct.

Origin of All of the Above

All the above meaningThis phrase was originally used as an answer on multiple-choice tests. For example, when all of the available answer choices are correct for a particular question, all of the above will also be listed as an answer choice.

These phrases are now used in everyday English to express one’s approval or disapproval, or acceptance or rejection, of a set of choices or options. It is unclear when these phrases were first used in colloquial English.

Examples of All of the Above

All the or all of the aboveThese phrases can be used in any situation in which there is more than one option presented. This sample conversation illustrates the correct use of all of the above.

Ron: Which kind of candy do you want: chocolate, gummy bears, or licorice?

Kelly: All of the above, please!

This example exchange between husband and wife shows how none of the above is used in everyday English.

Maude: Do you want the steak, shrimp, or lamb for dinner?

Brent: None of the above. I would like some chicken.

More Examples

  • “They say, ‘If she’s smart and strong, she can’t also be sexy.’ That’s not fair. Why can’t she be all of the above?” – USA Today
  • The goal: reduce administrative costs and increase accountability. The result: none of the above. – Chicago Tribune

Summary

The English phrases all of the above and none of the above refer to options or choices that have already been mentioned.

In colloquial English, people tend to use these phrases to express approval or disapproval, or acceptance or rejection, of a given set of choices.