English Grammar Step by Step
NEITHER, NOT...EITHER, NONE, NOT...ANY, BOTH AND ALL
Fill in the blanks as appropriate.
Neither of them fleeced the old lady.
He didn’t sing either of the songs
None of these ballpoint pens work(s).
They didn’t buy any of the vases.
Both of them are swindlers.
All of them took the pedestrian crossing.
If we have two people or things in mind, we use neither,
not...either or both; but if we have more than two, none,
not...any or all. Neither, not...either and none are usually treated
as singular words in a formal style; but as plurals, in an informal one.
None of + a determiner + an uncountable noun is also possible: None of
this farming land belongs to them. Compare this with the following:
‘Which of this farming land belongs to them?’
‘None (of it).’
As regards all and not...any, we use a singular verb if they come
before uncountable nouns; and a plural verb, before plural nouns.
For instance, all (of) the money is singular; but all (of) the
geraniums, plural. As for both, it always accompanies plural nouns,
and it always takes plural verbs: Both (of) the bathing-caps are
too big for him.
a There were over ten boys, and __________ them were eating sunflower
seeds. They loved them.
b They showed me two strings of pearls, but I didn’t like __________ them.
c They showed me five strings of pearls, but I didn’t like __________ them.
d I have two children, and __________ them is working at present.
They’re on the dole.
e __________ my daughters are very clever. They always get top marks in
everything. Her names are Fiona and Jessica. Fiona is two years older
Both of the children played truant yesterday.
Both the children study hard.
Both children passed their exams.
Both of them are carol singers.
All of the children love pineapples.
All the children have got hepatitis.
All children need to play.
All of them love their mother country.
The subjects of the three first sentences mean the same. The third one
is the most formal of the three. In the fifth and sixth instances,
they are synonyms, but, in the seventh, it refers to children in general,
whereas, in the others, to a particular group of children. If both and
all are followed by a pronoun, of is necessary, as in the fourth and
eighth examples above.
a There were two girls playing in the school playground. __________ them
were in high spirits.
b __________ women like perfumes.
c ‘How many children have you got?’
‘Three boys. __________ them are very handsome.’
d ‘__________ beggars look shabby.’
‘Well, I don’t think __________ them look shabby.’
e Someone has drunk __________ the wine.
We (= he and I) both/Both of us shouted at the referee. He didn’t
have the faintest idea of how to referee.
I like them both/both of them. (Referring to two anoraks.)
They all/All of them killed time reading magazines. (Three or
‘Which miniskirts do you like best?’
‘I like them all/all of them.’
Both that lad and that lass were friends of his.
It does not matter whether we say ‘we both’ or ‘both of us’,
‘them both’ or ‘both of them’. The same is true of all.
Both and and may be used as correlatives, as in the last example.
Both and all can also be pronouns:
Both (of my two sons) love playing in the open air.
All (of my three sons) love playing in the open air.
a We (= my husband and I) __________ kept our noses clean, but they
(= her husband and she) __________ got into trouble.
b __________ us kept our noses clean, but __________ them got into trouble.
c __________ Thomas __________ Philip never kept things back, so I
wouldn’t tell them anything.
d We (= all your friends) have __________ been striving hard to understand
you all over these years, but we have found it very difficult, as you
have never been very specific.
e He told them (= Ursula, Tina and Tracey) __________ the story.
4 Revision exercise.
a ‘You two, come on, help in the kitchen!’
‘We’re sorry, but we’re __________ very busy now.’
b __________ us (= my wife and I) covered our ears when we heard the
explosion, but the people sitting at the next table didn’t.
c I’ve got two sons, and __________ them leave their beds unmade in
the mornings. I have told them a hundred times not to leave their
beds unmade, but they keep doing it.
d __________ them (= Hugh and Angus) pull the toilet chain when they go
to the loo. It’s very irritating.
e __________ them (= Hugh, Angus and Ray) flush the toilet whenever they go
to the lavatory. It’s very irritating.
f There were four sofa beds, and __________ them was worth a bag of beans,
so we threw them away.
g They __________ (= they two) spent three years in gaol because they
had robbed a bank.
h __________ spiders eat insects.
i Peter and John have declared their love to her, but she told them
that she wasn’t in love with __________ them.
j You __________ (= you three) need a bandage. Come this way and
I’ll put you one each.
k We __________ (= our sister and I) are trying to make a living, so
don’t bother us.
l They (= our three daughters) are __________ grief-striken at the death
of their granddad.
m We saw three pythons, and __________ them was alive/and __________
them were lifeless. Someone had killed them with a sheath-knife.
n She says that she’s gone out with some fifteen boys and that she has
loved them __________ deeply.
o ‘They didn’t take __________ the digital watches in the shop window.’
‘But there are three missing!’
p ‘How many tulips have you picked?’
‘__________.’ (= I haven’t picked __________.)
q __________ lovers said goodbye to each other with tears in their eyes.
r I know there are two cash dispensers in this area, but I haven’t
seen __________ them.
s __________ the farmers here usually pay in kind, as they don’t usually
have money to pay in cash.
t __________ Alice __________ Timothy are as poor as a church mouse,
so they won’t be able to lend you any money.
u Not __________ girls make up their faces, but most of them do.
v They ate __________ the cheese. They left __________. They love cheese.
w __________ the rice pudding was fit for consumption. He had kept it in
the fridge for a long time.
x When the forest ranger saw them __________ climbing over the fence,
he said, ‘ Where are you two going?’
y We have two kids, and they __________ like tiger nut milk.
z We __________ have lentils once a week. My husband isn’t very fond of
them, but the children adore them.
For neither and not...either, see unit 5.
See also unit 14, section 18.
See unit 14, sections 12 and 13.
It is also possible to omit the preposition of with half:
She spends half (of) her spare time reading.
Half (of) the time was devoted to theory.
We can also say ‘half an apple’ or ‘a half apple’. Note too:
One and a half days aren’t enough to deal with the whole matter.
A day and a half isn’t enough to deal with the whole matter.
Do not say She has been studying all the day/all the night/all the
morning/all the afternoon/all the evening/all the week/all the month/all
the year, but She has been studying all day/all night/all morning...,
that is, we omit the and the prepositon of in the expression
all + day, night, and so on. Note also all (of) the time, all (of) the
summer, etc. The is optional in the phrase all (the) year round. Notice
the following as well: throughout/all through the night, the day,
and so forth.
Author: Miquel Molina i Diez
Pages: 1 and the key
1 Negative and interrogative sentences (Page 2 and the key)
2 Short answers (Page 2 and the key)
3 Question tags (Page 2 and the key)
4 Questions and exclamations (Page 2 and the key)
5 So, neither, nor, either (the key)
6 Be, used to, would, be/get/become used to, dare, have, get, become, grow, go, turn, fall and feel (Page 2 and the key)
7 Verb tenses: forms (Page 2 and the key)
8 Irregular verbs
9 Verb tenses: uses (Page 2, Page 3, Page 4, Page 5 and the key)
10 Personal pronouns, possessives and reflexive pronouns (Page 2 and the key)
11 The genitive case (the key)
12 Singular and plural nouns (Page 2 and the key)
13 Gender (the key)
14 A, an, some, any, no, not, none, each, every and the; compounds of some, any, no and every (Page 2, Page 3 and the key)
15 Neither, not...either, none, not...any, both and all (the key)
16 A few, few, a lot, lots, a little, little, many, much, no and plenty (the key)
17 Enough, too, so and such (the key)
18 Comparative and superlative sentences (Page 2 and the key)
19 Adjective order (the key)
20 Relative clauses (Page 2 and the key)
21 Do and make (the key)
22 Modal verbs (Page 2, Page 3 and the key)
23 Infinitives, gerunds and present participles (Page 2 and the key)
24 Conditional sentences (Page 2 and the key)
25 Passive sentences (the key)
26 Reported speech (Page 2 and the key)
27 Purpose (the key)
28 Word order (the key)
29 Inversion (the key)
30 Connectors (Page 2 and the key)
31 Prepositions (Page 2, Page 3 and the key)
32 Phrasal verbs (the key)