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consider the sentence below:

you can listen to music doing your homework or playing video games.

I want to use both to combine the two phrases, "doing your homework" and "playing video games":

you can listen to music both doing your homework and playing video games.

is the above sentence OK grammatically? What sorts of group words can be used after both .... and ...?

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  • 3
    it's grammatical. You could also say ... while doing your homework or playing video games. Dec 1, 2021 at 7:16
  • 2
    Either/or makes more sense than both/and. Dec 1, 2021 at 9:07
  • Both doing your homework and playing video games will occupy your time.
    – Lambie
    Jan 3, 2023 at 19:24

1 Answer 1

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Yes, that sentence is grammatical. However, there are two issues to be aware of.

First, as KB notes in a comment, the writer seems to suggest that the reader is listening to music, doing homework, and playing video games all at the same time. If that is what you really mean, then it's fine.

Second, there could be some ambiguity with this construction: Is the music doing your homework and playing video games? Obviously not, but the reader might have to take a second to figure that out, and in some other situations it could cause real confusion. Therefore, I'd recommend something like this:

You can listen to music while both doing your homework and playing video games.

To answer your last question, as far as I'm aware, any two phrases that can be connected with "and" can also be connected with "both . . . and". The correlative version emphasizes and makes clear that there are exactly two phrases being coordinated.

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