both

both
1. general.
Both, when modifying a single item, refers to two things or persons (both houses / both women); when, as both…and…, it couples two items, each of these may be singular (both the woman and the man) or plural (both the women and the men), although care must be taken to avoid misunderstanding if the first item is plural, as in the example just given.
2. position.
Both is a mobile word and can be linked to particular pairs of sentence elements: They work both by day and by night / He both loves and hates his brother / The work is both rewarding and enjoyable / I hope to be both a writer and a musician. When there are more than two items involved, the word both should be omitted: I want to be a writer, a musician, and a painter.
3. as pronoun.
Both can also function as a pronoun, optionally followed by of: I will try to see both / I will try to see both of the candidates / I will try to see both of you; when used with a personal pronoun both must follow it: I will try to see you both / You both look worried.
4. awkward constructions.
Because both is so flexible in use, its intended meaning can be unclear in some uses:
a) We both won a prize can mean either (1) ‘we both won one prize between us’, or (2) ‘we won a prize each’. It is better to use each or to rephrase with a word such as joint, as appropriate: We each won a prize / We won a joint prize.
b) You will see a tree at both ends of the road is not so much ambiguous as counter-intuitive, since the tree can only be in one place. Rephrase as You will see a tree [or trees] at each end of the road.
c) Books are useful both for pleasure as well as for learning is a sequence to be avoided: both should always be paired with and: Books are useful both for pleasure and for learning. Note also the repetition of for: see the next item.
d) Her speech was both detrimental to understanding and to peace needs to be rephrased so that the two elements governed by both match each other: Her speech was detrimental to both understanding and peace or Her speech was detrimental both to understanding and to peace; compare Her speech was both detrimental to understanding and damaging to peace. This applies espe-cially to use of the definite or indefinite article: Both the man and woman should be corrected to Both the man and the woman.
e) He was acting on both our behalfs is better expressed as He was acting on behalf of us both.
f) We find them both equally responsible is a common construction in speech, but both is strictly redundant, and should be omitted in more formal writing: We find them equally responsible.

Modern English usage. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • both — [ bouθ ] function word, quantifier *** Both can be used in the following ways: as a determiner (followed by a noun, but not by a pronoun): Both children are at school. as a predeterminer (followed by a word such as the, this, his, etc.): I like… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • Both — Both, a. or pron. [OE. bothe, ba?e, fr. Icel. b[=a]?ir; akin to Dan. baade, Sw. b[*a]da, Goth. baj??s, OHG. beid?, b?d?, G. & D. beide, also AS. begen, b[=a], b?, Goth. bai, and Gr. ?, L. ambo, Lith. ab[ a], OSlav. oba, Skr. ubha. [root]310. Cf.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Both — ist der Name eines mecklenburgischen Uradelsgeschlechtes, siehe Both (Adelsgeschlecht) Both ist der Familienname folgender Personen: Andries Both (1612/1613–1641), holländischer Maler Carl Friedrich von Both (1789–1875), deutscher Jurist und… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Both — Both, conj. As well; not only; equally. [1913 Webster] Note: Both precedes the first of two co[ o]rdinate words or phrases, and is followed by and before the other, both . . . and . . .; as well the one as the other; not only this, but also that; …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • both — [bōth] adj., pron. [ME bothe < OE ba tha, both these < ba, fem. nom. & acc. of begen, both + tha, nom. & acc. pl. of se, that, the: akin to ON bathir, OS bethia, MDu bede, Ger beide: see AMBI ] the two; the one and the other [both birds… …   English World dictionary

  • both — there are several theories, all similar, and deriving the word from the tendency to say both the. One is that it is O.E. begen (masc.) both (from P.Gmc. *ba, from PIE *bho both ) + þ extended base. Another traces it to the P.Gmc. formula… …   Etymology dictionary

  • both — ► PREDETERMINER , DETERMINER , & PRONOUN ▪ two people or things, regarded and identified together. ► ADVERB ▪ applying equally to each of two alternatives. ● have it both ways Cf. ↑have it both ways USAGE When both is …   English terms dictionary

  • both´er|er — both|er «BOTH uhr», noun, verb, interjection. –n. 1. much fuss or worry about small matters; trouble: »What a lot of bother about nothing! SYNONYM(S): disturbance. 2. a person or thing that causes worry, fuss, or trouble: »A door that will not… …   Useful english dictionary

  • both|er — «BOTH uhr», noun, verb, interjection. –n. 1. much fuss or worry about small matters; trouble: »What a lot of bother about nothing! SYNONYM(S): disturbance. 2. a person or thing that causes worry, fuss, or trouble: »A door that will not shut is a… …   Useful english dictionary

  • Both [1] — Both, 1) ein Bündel Flachs; 2) Weinmaß, so v.w. Bota …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

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