If you are someone who is confused with the meaning of the word ‘both’ and finding it difficult to understand how it works in the English language, then this article is for you!
Both is a word that is used to refer to two things or people as a unit. It is often used to show that two things are equal or similar in importance, size, or effect. In this article, we will explore the various meanings of the word ‘both’ and how it can be used in different contexts.
1. What Does the Word ‘Both’ Mean?
The word ‘both’ is a determiner that refers to two things or people. It is used to highlight the fact that two things or people are being referred to as a single unit.
- Both Sam and John are coming to the party.
- The company will launch both its new products next month.
In both these examples, the word ‘both’ is used to signify that two things (Sam and John, and the two products) are being talked about as a single unit.
2. How to Use ‘Both’ in a Sentence?
Using ‘both’ in a sentence is quite simple. It can be used as a determiner, pronoun, or adverb. In most cases, it is used as a determiner to show that two things are being referred to as a single unit.
- Both of my parents were doctors.
- I have both your phone number and your email address.
Here, ‘both’ is used as a determiner to refer to two things (the two parents, and the phone number and email address) as a unit.
2.1 Using ‘Both’ as a Pronoun
‘Both’ can also be used as a pronoun to replace a noun when it is clear what the two things being referred to are.
- I bought two books, but I only read both on the plane.
- She had two options, but she chose both.
In these examples, ‘both’ is used as a pronoun to replace the noun ‘books’ and ‘options’, respectively.
2.2 Using ‘Both’ as an Adverb
When ‘both’ is used as an adverb, it is often used with ‘and’ to show that two things are happening at the same time or to the same degree.
- He looked both tired and happy after the marathon.
- I am both excited and nervous for my first day of school.
Here, ‘both’ is used as an adverb to show that the two things (tired and happy, and excited and nervous) are happening simultaneously or to the same degree.
3. Common Phrases Using ‘Both’
‘Both’ is oftentimes used in several daily phrases. Here are some common phrases using ‘both’:
- Both sides of the argument
- Both ways
- Both ends meet
- Both of them
- Both your eyes
- Both parties
In all of these phrases, ‘both’ is used to refer to two things as a unit.
4. Examples of ‘Both’ in Literature
‘Both’ is a commonly used word in literature. Here are some examples:
- “I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference” from “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost. Here, ‘both’ is not used in the sentence but interpreted that the traveler can only take one path, not both.
- “I loved you both, but I was bored with myself” from “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Here, ‘both’ is used to refer to the two people whom the speaker loved.
‘Both’ is a simple yet versatile word that is often used in the English language to refer to two things as a unit. It can be used as a determiner, pronoun, or adverb, depending on the context. Overall, it helps to clarify sentences and reduce redundancy.
- Oxford Dictionary
- Cambridge Dictionary
- Merriam-Webster Dictionary
7. Frequently Asked Questions
- Q: Can ‘both’ be used to refer to more than two things?
- A: No, ‘both’ can only be used to refer to two things.
- Q: Can the word ‘both’ be used in negative sentences?
- A: Yes, ‘both’ can be used in negative sentences. For example, “Both Ali and Mona didn’t attend the meeting.”
- Q: Is ‘both’ a conjunction?
- A: No, ‘both’ is not a conjunction. It is a determiner, pronoun, or adverb.