In the following sentence, I think both is a pronoun, serving as an appositive to we.

We ate both sandwiches.

What is the part of speech of both in that sentence?

  • 3
    You're maybe confusing "We both ate sandwiches" (emphasising that it was 2 of you, not just one, who ate), with "we ate both sandwiches" (emphasising that 2 sandwiches were eaten, which was all there was).
    – Stuart F
    Jun 14, 2023 at 13:44
  • In your example sentence "both" modifies "sandwiches". It means "the two sandwiches". Is this what you meant to say? Or did you mean to say "We both ate sandwiches"? This would mean "The two of us ate sandwiches".
    – Billy Kerr
    Jun 14, 2023 at 14:03
  • @BillyKerr Thanks, I may confuse it with "we both...".
    – shepherd
    Jun 14, 2023 at 14:08

1 Answer 1


It's actually dependent on "sandwiches", which it modifies. And it's a numeral.

How many sandwiches did we eat? Both sandwiches.

  • 2
    Isn't 'both' in 'both sandwiches', 'both dogs', 'both cars', etc, a determiner? Jun 14, 2023 at 14:40
  • 1
    @MichaelHarvey Apparently it is (and so I've learned the term) but IIUIR determiners are not a part of speech as such. Wikipedia says: "Common kinds of determiners include definite and indefinite articles (the, a), demonstratives (this, that), possessive determiners (my, their), cardinal numerals (one, two), quantifiers (many, both), distributive determiners (each, every), and interrogative determiners (which, what)." So, they can be articles, several types of pronouns, or numerals.
    – Divizna
    Jun 14, 2023 at 14:50
  • A numeral is a symbol or name that stands for a number. Examples: three, four and twelve. Both is a quantifier. Jun 14, 2023 at 14:54
  • 1
    "Both" expresses quantification but it is not a numeral. Its word class (POS) is determinative and its function is that of determiner, not modifier. Note the different spellings of the two labels.
    – BillJ
    Jun 14, 2023 at 16:06

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