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' can be used after pronouns, but we cannot use 'both of' in this way. Pay attention to the examples:

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

As opposed to 'both', 'both of' is used before pronouns. Keep in mind that we cannot use 'both of' before 'subject pronouns'. It is only used before 'object pronouns'. For example:

Both of us are sorry about what we did earlier.

Both of them were trying hard to beat the opponent.

With Words of the Same Class


When we are referring to two options which are of the same parts of speech, we must use 'both' followed by 'and'.

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

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.

With Nouns


We use plural countable nouns after 'both'. For example:

Both cars got dirty.

The theories of both scientists were unacceptable.

  • 'Both + determiner':

However, if there is a determiner after 'both', it can be followed by either a plural or singular noun, but the noun must be linked to another plural or singular noun of the same kind by the linking word 'and'. The structure is as follows:
[both + determiner + singular/plural noun + and + determiner + singular/plural noun]
Take a look at the examples:

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

Both the rabbit and the mouse are soft and fluffy.

Both of

'Both of' is used before noun phrases, that is, before (determiner + noun). But keep in mind that we cannot use singular nouns in this case and after 'of'. For example:

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

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

With Adjectives


We can use 'both' before adjectives connected by 'and' to indicate that two adjectives apply to the same person or thing. Additionally, 'both' can be used before two adjectives, followed by 'as well as', and one or more additional adjectives to indicate that all the adjectives apply to a person or thing. This rule applies to 'both', not 'both of'. Let us take a look at some examples:

Katherine is both rich and smart.

Ellie is both kind and smart as well as beautiful.

'You and Me Both'

The expression 'you and me both' is commonly used to indicate that the speaker and the person they are speaking to share a common experience or feeling. It is often used to express agreement or empathy, and to suggest that the speaker can relate to what the other person is saying. Look at the examples below:

You and me both know he is right.

You and me both like chocolate cakes.


Combination with Determiners

Both and both of are used before a (determiner + noun). In other words, they are used before noun phrases. For example:

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' are used to refer to two people or things in a group of two. They indicate that the two things or people are considered together as a pair, or share some quality.

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 grammatically correct because 'both' and 'both of' somehow replace the definite article. However, in spoken English, sometimes we can use 'the' before 'both' or 'both of' to add emphasis. For example:

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'?

'Both of you' and 'you both' are both correct and commonly used in English, but 'you both' is more emphatic. This also applies to all other subject and object pronouns.

Are they both going on a date?

Both of us have to clean our rooms.


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