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In Russian:

По той причине, что мне нужен стиль и для обычного текста, и для текста внутри таблиц, и для сносок, использование стиля Text Body вводило бы в заблуждение.

Here is how this passage translated by Google, DeepL, and Yandex respectively:

Google: For the reason that I need a style for both plain text, text within tables, and footnotes, using the Text Body style would be misleading.

DeepL: For the reason that I need the style for both plain text and text inside tables and footnotes, using the Text Body style would be misleading.

Yandex: For the reason that I need a style for both plain text, text inside tables, and footnotes, using the Text Body style would be misleading.

As you see, there is no big difference. "plain text" is actually should be translated as "normal text" or "body text".

So I would translate it as

For the reason that I need a style for both body text, text inside tables, and [for] footnotes, using the Text Body style would be misleading.

What confuses me is that all three translation tools uses the word "both" even though there are 3 items. As I know, we cannot use "both" for more than two items in such a context.

Or maybe it's not actually so?

Which alternatives do we have?

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  • I intentionally omitted the tag translation because my question is more about how to use the word "both" rather than about helping me with a translation itself. Some native speakers who could provide a help would skip such a question (i.e., to not open/click it at all) if they see such a tag and they don't know any foreign languages. – jsv Oct 26 '20 at 19:36
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"Both" is used from two items, and it is confusing to use it with a list of three thing. I want to try an work out if two of the three things are really combined and count as one thing.

You can use "all three" for emphasis, or just omit it:

... for (all three of) body text, text in tables, and footnotes...

using "as well as" is an alternative to a plain list, and works if one different

... for body text and text in tables as well as for footnotes...

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Only the Deepl translation is grammatical in English. It refers to "plain text and text inside tables and footnotes". I have no idea about the fidelity to the Russian.

The word "both" must be used with two items. The Deepl translation groups "text inside tables and footnotes" as a single item, and "both" refers to the coordination of two items: plain text and another kind, that which occurs in tables and footnotes.

If you have three items, you can say "all [three] of x, y, and z" if you need the kind of emphasis that "both" gives to a list of two items.

Logically, "both" is for emphasis, and it can be omitted, because "both x and y" is equivalent to "x and y", except for the emphasis.

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  • Jack, thanks. I like both your and James' answer. The answer by James was posted 2020-10-26 19:32:34Z and yours 2020-10-26 19:32:41Z, so I accepted the one which was the first. – jsv Oct 26 '20 at 19:51
  • Cool. His is a good answer. – Jack O'Flaherty Oct 26 '20 at 19:57
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To me, it is very strange to see "both" used with 3 items. I am a native speaker and I can safely say that in every context I can imagine, it is only used for 2 items. Unless, it was posted by a foreign speaker or maybe it is acceptable for the programming/coding world. I would use "all three" as an alternative.

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