Both vs. Both of

It's understandable that you may see no difference between these two, but let's read the article and see the similarities and differences between the two.

"Both" vs. "Both of" in the English Grammar

What Are Their Main Differences?

'Both of' can only be used before objective pronouns. 'Both' can only be used after subjective pronouns.


With Pronouns

  • 'Both':

We are allowed to use 'both' after pronouns, but we cannot do the same for 'both of'.

They wanted to fire us both. (Not "They wanted to fire us both of.")

They both have had heart attacks when they were young. (Not " They both of have had heart attacks when they were young.)

  • 'Both of':

Unlike 'both', 'both of' can be used before pronouns. The important thing to know is that we can not use 'both of' before 'subjective pronouns'. It is used only before 'objective pronouns'.

Both of us are sorry about what we did earlier.

Both of them were trying hard to beat the opponent.

Using Terms of the Same Word Classes

  • 'Both':

When we are referring to two options which are of the same parts of speech, we must use 'both' followed by 'and' not 'both of'.

Both the doctors and the dentists are hardworking. (Not "Both of the doctors and dentists are hardworking.")

Remember in this case both can be followed by a singular noun linked to another singular noun.

Both their wedding and their honey moon was in Montreal.


After 'both' we are supposed to use plural countable nouns. Remember, We can not use a singular noun after it unless it is followed by a determiner which is discussed below.

Both cars got dirty because they neglected to keep them polished.

The theories of both scientists were unacceptable.

  • 'Both + determiner':

If there is a determiner after 'both' it can be followed by either plural or singular noun but it can be linked to another plural or singular noun of the same kind by the linking word 'and'. We mean the structure is:
[both + determiner + singular/plural noun + and + determiner + singular/plural noun]

Both my best friend and my sister are putting money to invest on some buildings.

Both the rabbit and the mouse are soft and chubby.

'Both of'

'Both of' is used before noun phrases we mean before (determiner + noun). But the most important thing to know is that we can not use singular nouns in this case and after 'of'.

Both of his shoes were wet because of the rainy weather.

Both of the students went on the scene to play their part.

'You and Me Both'

As rare as it looks it is normally used in spoken English. The expression 'you and me both' is used to say something is true about you and the person talking to you. Look at the examples to be clarified.

You and me both know he is right.

You and me both like chocolate cakes.

Using 'Both ... as Well as ...'

We can use two adjectives after 'both' and one or more adjective after 'as well as' to say that the adjectives all are true about the person or thing. Let us take a look at some examples to be clear. Remember, we can use both before adjectives on their own. The whole rule is used for 'both' not 'both of'.

Katherine is both rich and smart.

Billie is both kind and famous as well as talented.


In Combination with Determiners

  • Both and both of:

are used before a (determiner + noun). In other words, they are used before noun phrases.

Both my bridesmaids are not coming because of the flue. (Also "Both of my bridesmaids are not coming because of the flue.")

What They Refer to

'Both' and 'both of', refer to two people or things in a group of two, at the same time.

Both knights were fighting for their country.

Both of them were covered in mud because of the accident.

Using 'The' before 'Both' and 'Both of'

Using 'the' before both and both of is not correct because 'both' and 'both of' somehow play the role of the definite article. However, in spoken English, sometimes to put emphasis we can use 'the' before 'both' or 'both of'.

The both of you are on detention.

The both giraffes were trying to get the ice-cream from the little child.

'Both of You' or 'You Both'?

Actually, 'both of you' and 'you both' are correct and both are used in normal English Grammar, but using 'you both' seems to have an emphasis on it. This is actually true for all subjective and objective pronouns. You use a subjective pronoun before 'both' and an objective pronoun after 'both of'.

You both are going on a date?

Both of us have to clean our rooms, now.


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