At LanguageHumanities, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.

Learn more...

What Does "All of the above" Mean?

"All of the above" is a phrase often found in multiple-choice questions, signifying that every listed option is correct. It's a comprehensive choice, indicating that you don't have to select just one answer because all apply. Curious about how this option can impact decision-making or test-taking strategies? Let's delve deeper into the implications of choosing "all of the above."
Maggie Worth
Maggie Worth

The phrase "all of the above" is used to denote a similarity between items in a list. This similarity may be in features, benefits, usage or desirability. The list need not be physically printed above the phrase. When used in this manner, in fact, the word "above" usually means "before" or "preceding" the phrase in either print or conversation.

For example, someone might state that he is eating a lot of meat, fish, eggs and peanuts and might explain that it is because all of the above are high in protein. In a printed piece extolling the benefits of eating a diet high in protein, the author might write a paragraph about meat, a paragraph about eggs, and so on. He might then conclude by stating that all of the categories mentioned in the preceding paragraphs are high in protein.

The phrase "all of the above" is a common answer option on multiple choice questionnaires.
The phrase "all of the above" is a common answer option on multiple choice questionnaires.

"All of the above" is often used in conversation as the answer to a question as well. For example, one man might ask another what he likes best about a new car: its style, its features, or its price. The second man might reply "all of the above," meaning that he values all aspects equally.

This phrase is also a common answer option on multiple choice questionnaires or tests that allow only one answer per question. For example, the question might be "which of the following has wheels?" The answer choices might be "a truck," "a bicycle," "a skateboard" and "all of the above." The correct answer would be "all" because selecting any other answer would imply that the other answers did not have wheels. If the test allows the taker to select more than one option, this phrase would probably not be listed as an answer.

The opposite of "all of the above" is "none of the above." This phrase can also be used to express a similarity, but it would express the lack of a similar feature rather than the presence of a similar feature; it could also indicate that offered choices all are undesirable as opposed to indicating that all are desirable. For example, if a server asks if a customer would like butter, sour cream, and cheese on his potato, he would say "all of the above" if he wants them all or "none of the above" if he'd prefer it plain.

Another related phrase is "any of the above." While "all" and "any of the above" are sometimes interchangeable, they can also represent very different answers. For example, if someone asks whether he should use standard pliers, needle-nose pliers or an adjustable wrench to turn a bolt, the answer would be "any of the above" because he is unlikely to use all of them at the same time.

You might also Like

Discuss this Article

Post your comments
Forgot password?
    • The phrase "all of the above" is a common answer option on multiple choice questionnaires.
      By: uwimages
      The phrase "all of the above" is a common answer option on multiple choice questionnaires.