Learn English Grammar, Speaking, Practical English Usage and business English writing
Reference Desk
Home
English Grammar
Practical English Usage
Grammatical Terms
English Writing
Vocabulary
English Speaking
Business English
Grammar worksheets
TOEFL
IELTS
Interactive Pages
English grammar and vocabulary exercises

 

 

Both and both of

Posted by Manjusha; You are here: Home --> Practical English English --> Both and both of

Both means 'the one and also the other of two persons/things etc'.

  • I want both books.
  • Both shirts are good.

Both and both of

Before a noun with a determiner (the, this, my, your, those etc.) both and both of are both possible. In American English, both of is common.

  • I want both (of) these books.

Before a personal pronoun we use both of. Note that both of is followed by the object form of the pronoun.

  • Both of them are good.
  • Both of us want to go.

Note that both of us/you/them can be the subject or object of a clause.

  • She has invited both of us. (object)
  • Both of us have been invited. (subject)
  • Give my love to both of them. (object)

Both can be put after pronouns used as objects.

  • She has invited us both.
  • She has sent you both her love.

Both and neither

To mean 'none of the two', we use neither, not both…not.

  • Neither of them came. (NOT Both of them did not come.)

We often drop the or a possessive after both.

  • You can take both shirts. (NOT…both the shirts.)
  • He lost both parents when he was a child. (NOT … both his parents…)

Position of both

When both refers to the subject of a clause, it can go with the verb. It is put after auxiliary verbs and before other verbs. When there are two auxiliary verbs, both usually goes after the first.

  • They are both good.
  • We both want to go.
  • We have both been invited.
  • They have both gone home.

Note that these meanings can also be expressed by using the structure both (of) + noun/pronoun.

  • Both of them are good.
  • Both of us want to go.
  • Both of us have been invited.
  • Both of them have gone home.

Both … and …

The same kind of words or expressions usually follow both and and.

  • She is both beautiful and clever. (adjectives)
  • She both sings and dances. (verbs)

 

Search the Dictionary of Practical English Usage (Over 500 Lessons)

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I |
J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R |
S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

Must-reads

Using as well as
As well as grammar exercise
Not only...but also...
Using not only...but also

Can't find it?

Get our lessons by email

Enter your email address: