all/both – grammar chart
all/all the; both/both (the)
We can use both or both the/my/etc. + noun in the same way to refer to two people or things.
- Both students/Both the students passed the exam.
- They won both matches/both the matches.
We use all + noun (without the) to refer to things/people in general.
- All students hate homework. (all + plural countable nouns)
- All music makes people feel something. (all + uncountable nouns)
We use all + the/my/etc. + noun to refer to particular people or things.
- All the students in my class hate homework. (all the + plural countable nouns)
- All the music I download makes me feel something. (all the + uncountable nouns)
all (of) the; both (of the)
We can use all/both + of before both/all of the/my/Tom’s + noun. But it is often omitted.
- All (of) the students in my class hate homework.
- Both (of the) students passed the exam.
But we cannot use both/all of + noun when there isn’t a determiner, i.e. the, my, this etc., before the noun.
- All/Both of the students passed the exam. (But NOT
All/Both of students)
all/both: word order with pronouns
all of us / both of them / etc. (subject)
We can use all/both of + you/us/them before a verb (as the subject of a sentence).
- All of us were at the party.
- Both of them are wrong.
Note that of is necessary; we cannot omit it.
- All of us were at the party. (NOT
All uswere at the party.)
us all / them both / etc. (object)
We can use you/us/them + all/both after a verb (as the object of a sentence).
- The judge sent them all to jail. (=The judge sent all of them to jail.)
- She loves them both. (=She loves both of them.)
all/both: word order with verbs (mid position)
All and both can be used in mid position. Mid position is:
➪ before the verb.
- We both like going to the cinema. (=Both of us like going to the cinema.)
- They all left without saying goodbye. (=All of them left without saying goodbye.)
➪ after the verb be when it’s the only verb in a sentence.
- The boys were all happy. (=All the boys were happy.)
- The players are both tired. (=Both [the] players are tired.)
➪ after an auxiliary verb, or after the first auxiliary verb if there is more than one.
- They are all going to disappear. (=All of them are going to disappear.)
- The robbers have both been arrested. (=Both [the] robbers have been arrested.)
➪ In questions mid position is after the subject.
- Have they both finished?