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Thread: Don't + Both

  1. #1
    Senior Moment Antonath's Avatar
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    Default Don't + Both

    "I don't love both brothers."

    What's wrong with this sentence? "I don't love either brother" would be correct, but "I love both brothers" is also correct, so where does it fall apart using both and don't together? If someone can give me a specific rule of grammar I can point my JTE at, it would make things much simpler.
    ...because Japan.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Don't + Both

    Positive and negative statements. Think of whether you would use and/or.

    For example

    "I love bob and sam" (both) not "I love bob or sam" (either)

  3. #3

    Default Re: Don't + Both

    "I don't love either brother." = "I love neither brother."
    = I don't love bob or sam.

    "I don't love both brothers." = "I only love one of the brothers."
    = I don't love bob and sam = I love sam but not bob or I love bob but I don't love sam. But it's still confusing. I guess the way the sentence works is that you don't like the "brothers" as a collective unit but the possibility is open that you like one of them separate. Whereas if you say you like both of them you're saying that you like them as a collective unit which may or may not include liking them as individuals.

    I dunno there probably isn't a grammar rule so much as they have subtly different meanings and of course that it sounds unnatural to say one of them because the meaning is unclear.

  4. #4
    Senior Moment Antonath's Avatar
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    Default Re: Don't + Both

    Thanks for the ideas, everyone. I think I managed to explain it ok. Though it will doubtless come up again in a week or two...
    ...because Japan.

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