I’m a newbie here. I have got some reservations on the usage of the word both. To the best of my knowledge, it is followed by are. But in a website I just came across this sentence:

TESOL Canada board exam is required of both native or non-native graduates with or without teaching experience.

Now in this sentence, I personally think the word both should be followed by the conjunction and in lieu of or.
So I’d be grateful if you guys clear this doubt.

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  • 4
    I also think "both native or non-native" should be replaced by "both native and non-native". "Both ... or" doesn't sound right in my country (USA). Is it possible this usage is different in Canada? I would be surprised.
    – Lorel C.
    Apr 11, 2019 at 16:28
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    I tend to agree. This would seem to be a piece of bad phrasing (ie a mistake)
    – James K
    Apr 11, 2019 at 16:49
  • The conjunction doesn't have to follow immediately both. (Nor does both need to be followed by a conjunction at all: both of them went home).But it certainly should not be both . . . or. If they actually used or when advertising an exam on teaching English, that's a sad commentary. Apr 11, 2019 at 18:15

1 Answer 1


I believe you have it right. "Both x or y" sounds weird to me because it just doesn't make sense logically. Grammatically speaking, it should be

Both native and non-native


Either native or non-native

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