How to use the "both...and..." construction correctly

This is an entry on my list of Common Errors in English Usage. Visit the main page for direct links to additional entries.

When listing two things, the correlative conjunction construction “bothand…” is often used for emphasis. Though technically redundant since and by itself is sufficient to connect two things, this expression is idiomatically correct. However, both should not be paired with other expressions like “as well as”:

both teachers as well as students

both teachers and students

Other parts of speech such as verbs and adjectives can also be used in such constructions:

“boy bands” both loved and hated by the public

both moving and funny

Note that elements following both and and should be parallel in form. See my Parallelism page for more information.

Related Resources

Common Errors in English Usage: Errors in diction and idiom commonly made by native speakers of English

List of Common Errors in English Usage (PDF): Printable version of the complete list

Common Grammar Errors: A list of common errors in grammar (topics like subject-verb agreement and parallelism) as distinct from usage

List of Common Errors in English Usage: PDF version

© 2006, 2008, and 2019 C. Brantley Collins, Jr.