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Which of the following two is correct usage:

They managed to cross the border in spite of both the barbed wire and the border patrol agents.

Or,

They managed to cross the border in spite both of the barbed wire and of the border patrol agents.

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The first is more natural, but even there "both" isn't really needed. And "in spite of" is better as "despite". So a modified first sentence could be

They managed to cross the border despite the barbed wire and the patrols.

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  • So, you are saying that both of them are grammatically correct, but the first one is just used more. Am I correct? Oct 4 '18 at 21:51
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    No, the second isn't so good: "both of the barbed wire" seems like there are two sets of barbed wire. Drop that one and focus on improving the first. Oct 4 '18 at 21:53

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