all/both – grammar chart

all, both – quantifiers

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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 us were 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?