Monday, 2 January 2017

Both - Either - Neither

Both - Either - Neither

English Grammar

We use botheither and neither to refer to two people or things.


Both = the two; that one AND the other one; this one AND that one

Both can be used as a pronoun to refer to two things that we have already mentioned.

A: Do you want the blue shirt or the red one?
B: I’ll buy both (= the blue shirt AND the red shirt = both shirts)

Both X and Y

= not only X but also Y

Both + Adjective + and + Adjective

He’s both tall and handsome.I’m both happy and confused at the same time!I have had a long, hard day and I’m bothtired and hungry.

Both + Noun + and + Noun

Both can be used with a singular noun + and + singular noun

She speaks both English and Arabic.They have both a cat and a dog.He is both an actor and a director.

We can also use Both + plural noun (see more below)

She speaks both languages.

Both or Both of?

Both or Both of can be used without a difference in meaning though Both of is more common in the United States.

Both (of) + determiner + plural noun

You can use Both or Both of before a determiner (my, his, these, the etc.) and a plural noun.

Both (of) my friends arrived late to class.Both of the wheels wobble too much.A prize was given to both of the players.

When we use Both (without of), we drop the article the.

Both of the parents were nervous.Both parents were nervous.

Both of + Object Pronoun

When using Both with an object pronoun (me, you, him, her, it, us them), we need the preposition OF before that pronoun.

He has invited both us. (incorrect)He has invited both of us. (correct)I’ll take both of them. (correct)I need to speak to both of you. (correct)

Verb + Object pronoun + both

We can use both after an object pronoun

I hope they invite us both (= I hope they invite both of us)Do you need them both? (= Do you needboth of them)The teacher sent them both to the principal’s office.

To be + both

Both comes after To Be (or an auxiliary such as have or modal verbs).

He is both intelligent and agile.My sister and I are both ready for the trip.We were both happy with our exam results.

Modal verb + both + verb

My parents can both speak French.They should both try harder.My brothers would both be shocked if they knew the truth.

Both + other verbs

Both goes before the other verbs. If there is an accompanying auxiliary verb, then it goes in the middle of the two verbs (i.e. auxiliary + both + verb)

We both wanted to stay in bed and not go to work.They both liked the surprise.My parents both work in the same building.They have both studied a lot.

Both - Negative

We don’t use both in negative structures. Instead, we normally use Neither.

We don’t say: Both of them are not ready (incorrect)We say: Neither of them are ready (correct)

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