Ways to use 'both' – Global-Learning.ro
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Ways to use ‘both’

Both can be used in many ways:

  • to refer to two things or people together:

Both these books were sold. (The two books were sold.)

Are both your parents ill? (Are your mother and father ill?)

  • with nouns

Both or both of + determiner + noun

Determiner: a/an, the, my, his, her…

I know both his parents. They are good people. (or … both of his parents.)

Both her children are studying in London. (or Both of her brothers …) 

  • before a noun:

Both children are sleeping. ( or … both of the children)

You should learn both languages as soon as possible.

  • with pronouns:
  • both + subject pronoun

We both like pizza.

  • both of + object pronoun

We both like pizza. (subject pronouns + both) or Both of us like pizza. (both + of + object pronoun)

 Preposition  (at, for…)+ both of + object pronoun

I looked at both of them. (preferred to I looked at them both.)

That’ll be an interesting experience for both of you. (preferred to That’ll be an interesting experience for you both.)

  • both on its own used as a pronoun:

My children are always late. Both arrived an hour later than planned.

Applicants for this job must speak Italian or Spanish, preferably both.

  • Position of both

When both refers to the subject of the clause, the position is:

  1. between the subject and main verb
  2. after a modal verb/the first auxiliary verb
  3. after be as a main verb:

They both want to buy a new mobile phone. (between the subject and the main verb)

They had both been working during that night, that’s why they were exhausted. 

We can both help him, but he declines any help.

They were both very smart and polite. (after be as a main verb)

Not: They both were very smart…

  • Both in short answers

Both not „the both” in short answers:

A: Would you like something to eat?

B: A salad and a pizza, please.

A: Both?

B: Yeah, one for me and one for Jamie. He’s at the entrance door.


A: So what do you choose for this year, seaside or the mountains, swimming or climbing?

B: Both!

Not: The both.

  • Both of or neither of in negative clauses

We prefer  neither of  to  both of … not in negative clauses:

Neither of them can sing. (preferred to Both of them can’t sing.)

Neither of my parents lives in the city any more. (preferred to Both of my parents don’t live in the city any more.)

When the verb is in negative (+ not) then we use either (of) not both

He didn’t like either jacket. (He looked at two jackets.)

A: Are mum and dad both working this weekend?

B: I am not sure if either of them is working.

Both … and as a linking expression

The pair both … and emphasises the connection between two people or things. We can also use and, when we don’t want to emphasise.

Both Julie and Rebecca agreed with our terms. (stronger link than Julie and Rebecca agreed with our terms.)

Both: typical errors

  • It is not correct to use both when the verb is negative, (with not); use either instead:

They were not interested in either of the options.

  • When be is the main verb, both comes after the verb:

These children are both very smart.

Not: These children both are very smart …

Dacă dorești să-ți aprofundezi cunoștințele de limba engleză, poți achiziționa următorul curs de A1-A2:

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