Do "both" and "all" follow the same rule as adverbs of frequency? If there is one verb in a sentence an adverb of frequency goes before it, but if there are two verbs it is placed between them. As in "I often see her." "I don't often see her." But adverbs of frequency are used after verb Be: He is always late.

  1. "They are both students.

  2. They both play football.

  3. They both have cars.

  4. They are all married.

  5. They were all born in London.

  6. They all live in New York.

  7. They have both got cars.

  • The point is that when the verb is an auxiliary "all" and "both" preferentially follow it rather than precede it.
    – BillJ
    Jan 16, 2022 at 11:46

1 Answer 1


Firstly, "both" and "all" are not 'adverbs of frequency'. Adverbs of frequency tell how often something occurs.

"Both" and "all" tell us how many of something you are speaking about. They are determiners.

You could actually place the determiner differently in some of your examples:

  • They are both students
  • They both are students
  • They all are students
  • They are all students

But, in other situations, it is necessary to place the determiner specifically so that it is clear what it is counting. For example:

  • They both have cars

This would mean each owns a car. However:

  • They have both cars

The placement of the determiner now acts on the noun 'cars'. This would mean "they" collectively have possession of 'both cars', which one would have to presume are two cars previously mentioned.

  • 1
    "All" and "both" are determinatives, but they don't function as determiners. As your examples show, they are separable and not part of the subject NP but adjuncts in clause structure. Note that determiners always precede the noun they determine.
    – BillJ
    Jan 17, 2022 at 7:56
  • @Astralbee, are these positions also correct? They all are married. They all were born in London. They live all in New York. They both have got cars. They have got cars both. But "they have got both cars" has a different meaning. Jan 17, 2022 at 9:43
  • 1
    @AntoniaA Apart from your last example, yes, all are correct. "They have got cars both" is not correct. We do say "them both", if we have already made it clear what "them" refers to - for example, "We have two cars and they took them both". But again, this does not mean the same as "they both have cars".
    – Astralbee
    Jan 17, 2022 at 12:49
  • @Astralbee, could you tell me if these are correct too? They are married all. They are married both. They play football both. They play football all. They live in New York all. They live in New York both. They were born in London both. They were born in London all. They have cars both. They are students both. They are students all. Jan 17, 2022 at 16:36
  • @Astralbee and "they have cars all." Jan 17, 2022 at 16:42

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