Two English mistakes with the word BOTH

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Hello, students. It’s Shayna, your teacher from Today, I’m going to teach you about two mistakes that students make with the word “both”. Pay close attention because you might be making both of these mistakes, and you don’t even know it!

The first mistake is let’s say you’re at work and your manager gives you two projects to work on. They’re very difficult. Don’t say,

  • “Both of projects are difficult.”

That’s not quite correct. You can say,

  • “Both projects are difficult.”

“Both” immediately followed by the plural noun “projects.”

Or can use “both of” if you add an extra word before projects. You can say,

  • “Both of these projects are difficult.”
  • “Both of those projects are difficult.”
  • “Both of the projects are difficult.”
  • “Both of my projects are difficult.”

You need to have that word. Either these or those, the, or a possessive – like my, your, his, her, our, or their- before the word “projects”. Got it?

All right, let’s look at the second mistake. Don’t say,

  • “I like both of soccer and tennis.”

Again, it’s not quite correct. You can use both and then say the two things specifically, but in this case you can’t use of. The only way to fix this sentence is to eliminate the word “of” and say,

  • “I like both soccer and tennis.”

That is correct, and it’s true. I like both soccer and tennis.

Let’s review the three correct ways to use “both” or “both of”.

  • Both + plural noun
    both projects, both cars, both houses, both people
  • both of + these, those, the, or a possessive + plural noun
    both of my dogs, both of my children, both of these computers, both of the windows
  • both + each thing individually
    both soccer and tennis, both apples and oranges, both English and Portuguese

Your homework for today is to write a sentence or two in the comments, using “both” or “both of” in the correct way. One of these three ways. Actually try all three. It’s good practice.

This is a really little mistake, and like I said, a lot of students don’t even realize they’re making it. One of the best ways to improve your English and get your mistakes corrected is to have a native speaker, and especially a teacher, look at your work and correct it. You can get that from me in some of my courses.

My Vocabulary Builder Course, as well as my Idioms and Phrasal Verbs courses; each lesson has short answer exercises. You can send me your answers, and I will correct them. My Advanced English Grammar Course has writing tasks; so you can send me a little bit of a longer piece of writing, and I will correct that.

Then, my Everyday English Speaking Courses have speaking tasks. You actually record your voice and send it to me; and I will evaluate, correct, and critique your speaking. You can click on the link in this video or in the description for more information about these courses.

I look forward to reading your comments using “both” or “both of”. Thank you for watching!