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Thread: Both

  1. BobK's Avatar
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    #1

    Both

    I just heard a TV interview with Ms Safina, and she said 'As my brother will not be there I will have to fight for both us'.

    This is an interesting error. It should be either 'for both of us' or 'for us both'. Can anyone suggest a way of explaining this difference? (If challenged I'd say "That's just the way it is. Learn it." But it'd be satisfying if anyone had an explanation.)

    [There's also the colloquial form 'the both of us', which I assume is an amalgam of 'both of us' and 'the two of us'.]

    b

  2. konungursvia's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Both

    I imagine it's a contraction, perhaps the speaker even thought she was saying "both'f us."

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    #3

    Re: Both

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    I just heard a TV interview with Ms Safina, and she said 'As my brother will not be there I will have to fight for both us'.

    This is an interesting error. It should be either 'for both of us' or 'for us both'. Can anyone suggest a way of explaining this difference? (If challenged I'd say "That's just the way it is. Learn it." But it'd be satisfying if anyone had an explanation.)

    [There's also the colloquial form 'the both of us', which I assume is an amalgam of 'both of us' and 'the two of us'.]

    b
    It would seem to be a case of "quantifier floating". The idea is that a subject or object of the form [ quantifier of NP ] can be replaced by NP alone, with the quantifier "floating" off to the right into what is effectively an adverbial position. In the incorrect example quoted, "both" is not in such a position.

    Similar patterns occur with "all" and some other quantifiers.

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    #4

    Re: Both

    On reflection, there is probably a simpler explanation. Most NPs don't require "of" with "both" - "both the men" etc. - but pronouns do. Probably the speaker was simply confused by this.

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