Distributives are determiners that indicate divided groups of people. In this lesson, we will learn uses, grammatical rules, and more.
What Are Distributives?
Distributives are a type of determiners that tell how people or things are divided or shared or distributed within a group.
The Common Distributives
The most common distributives in English are:
- none of
Referring to Two People or Things
The distributives 'both,' 'neither' and 'either' always refer to two things or people.
'Both' refers to all the members of a pair and is equivalent to 'one and the other.'
'Both' is always used with plural nouns.
woman were beautiful.')
Hold it in
Both as a Pre-determiner
When 'both' is used before a determiner (as a pre-determiner), we must use 'both' or 'both of.' Look at the examples:
Both as an Appositive Pronoun
Here, 'both' comes after an auxiliary verb or the verb 'be,' but comes before other main verbs.
When 'both' is used after a pronoun, you should place 'of' between them:
them loved her.')
Both as a Pronoun
'Both' can be used as a pronoun, without any noun(s) or other determiners with it:
Would you like milk or sugar or
Both is not usually used in negative clauses. In negative clauses that refer to two things or people, use 'neither.'
'Neither' is the opposite of 'both.' It refers to the distribution between two things but has a negative meaning.
'Neither' means 'not one and not the other' and is used before singular nouns.
It was a game in which
Neither as a Pronoun Followed by of
The pronoun neither can be followed by the preposition of. In this case, a partitive structure is formed which can be used as pre-determiner.
Neither as a Pronoun
'Neither' can be used as a pronoun, without any noun(s) or other determiners with it:
'Would you like sugar or milk?' '
I have two phones, but
We can use 'neither of' before a plural noun or pronoun. In formal speech and in writing, use a singular verb:
Neither of the cakes
In speech and informal writing, we can use a plural verb:
Neither of the cakes
Neither ... Nor as Pre-determiner
Neither and nor can be used as pre-determiners before a head noun. We can combine 'neither' with 'nor' to connect two things or people. It means 'not this one and not that one.' It is used in negative sentences and is very formal.
In more informal conversation, it is better to say 'I don't like sugar or milk in my coffee.'
'Either' is positive, 'neither' is negative. 'Either' is used before singular nouns to mean 'one or the other.'
'Either' goes with a singular verb.
I don't like
Either as a Pre-determiner
If we have an object pronoun or a plural noun with a determiner, we must use 'either of.'
I didn't like
Either as a Pronoun
'Either' can be used as a pronoun, without any noun(s) or other determiners with it:
'Which do you prefer?' '
There's sugar or milk – you can have
Either ... Or
We can combine 'either' with 'or' to connect two things or people. 'Either ... or' represents a choice between two possibilities.
Referring to Three or More Things/People
The distributives 'all,' 'each' and 'every' refer to three or more things or people.
'All' refers to three or more people or things. 'All' is used with plural and uncountable nouns. It means 'the whole number or amount' of people or things considered as a group.
All as a Pre-determiner
When we have a noun with a determiner, we can use 'all' or 'all of.' But, before pronouns, only 'all of' is allowed.
All as a Pronoun
'All' can be used as a pronoun, without any noun(s) or other determiners with it:
Each as a Pre-determiner
'Each' is used to refer to 'all' when referring to three or more things or people. We use 'each' with singular nouns. It is used to emphasize all individuals or items within a group.
Each as a Pronoun
We use 'each' as a pronoun followed by of before object of prepositions.
We can find something for
- What Are Distributives?
- The Common Distributives