Both vs. 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)

Manjusha Nambiar

Hi, I am Manjusha. This is my blog where I give English grammar lessons and worksheets.

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