The two phrases “both of you” and “you both” are fairly similar in use. However, you need to know the significant differences before you decide to use either of them. In this article, we’ll look at how they’re used and which is best in which case.
Is It “Both Of You” Or “You Both”?
“Both of you” should be used when you’re formally addressing two people. “You both” should be used when you want to add emphasis to “both” as if it were a reflexive pronoun (like “he himself”). Both phrases are grammatically correct.
According to The Cambridge Dictionary, the definition of “both” is “(referring to) two people or things together.”
Making sure you understand the differences between the two phrases is important. “Both of you” is seen as more acceptable because it works better in a formal situation. That means you can use it in more places than “you both.”
Generally, “you both” is used when we’re emphasizing the two people we’re talking to. It works best when someone needs to do something or when we’re telling off two people rather than one.
Is “Both Of You” Or “You Both” Used The Most?
To help you understand more about the differences between the two, we thought it was good to include a graph. With this, you can see exactly which one is better to use and which one is more popular.
According to this graph, “you both” is the most popular choice. This graph looks at the usage of the two phrases in the last two centuries compared to published works of literature.
The reason “you both” is more popular is most likely because we use it to address two people in a more informal sense. Generally, in most forms of writing that use this, we’re using speech marks to address a conversation, which is usually written as informal scenes.
There are much fewer chances to use “both of you” in informal situations. It still has a purpose, and many native speakers won’t notice the difference between the two, but generally speaking, “you both” is the more acceptable.
Examples Of How To Use “Both Of You” In A Sentence
Let’s go over some examples of using the two phrases to help you see them more clearly. We’ll start with writing “both of you” to address two people that we’re talking to.
“Both of you” is the more formal phrase. You’ll find it applies to more situations in formal settings, like the workplace.
- Both of you need to come with me immediately.
- I’m going to need both of you to report to my office.
- Can both of you please accompany me to visit the manager?
- Both of you need to understand something very important before you continue here.
- Okay, both of you have to come with me to discuss your punishment.
- Are both of you going to be okay with doing this together?
- Both of you should discuss the issues and come to me when you’ve made a final decision.
- Is there anything we can do to help both of you?
When we use “both of you,” we’re mostly talking formally. We’re trying to include two other people in the conversation to let them know that they’re both involved in whatever comes next.
It’s useful to do this rather than having to state both of their names or something that might look a little more jarring or long-winded. Typically, we want to streamline the language while we’re writing new things, so “both of you” works as a great phrase to do this.
Incidentally, all of the above examples can use “you both” in place of “both of you” and still have the same meaning. The only difference is in the delivery and the tone of the two sentences.
Examples Of How To Use “You Both” In A Sentence
We’ll talk about “you both” in similar detail. We believe it’s wise to know how both work before you try to use one over the other. “You both” might be the more popular choice, but it’s also the more informal one, meaning you should avoid using it in more formal settings.
“You both” treats “both” as a reflexive pronoun. That means we use “both” to add emphasis, even though “you” can refer to the two people we’re talking to just as easily.
- You both need to come with me now!
- You both are staying home and not going to that party!
- I need to talk to you both.
- Can you both calm down for a second?
- You both have some explaining to do.
- I need to speak with you both. Don’t go anywhere.
- Are you both going to do this together?
- You both should talk things through a little better before coming back here.
As you can see, “you both” is used to emphasize the fact that we’re talking to “you.” “You” in this sense is a plural pronoun referring to two people rather than the typical one you might expect it to.
We can show you what we mean by “both” being used as emphasis by removing it:
- You both need to come with me now!
- You need to come with me now!
Both of these sentences have the same meaning. The difference is that the second one doesn’t include “both.”
It’s still clear from the context that we’re talking about two people, but “both” shows that those two people are in trouble (or in danger), while the second incident doesn’t make that as clear.
Is It “Both Of You” Or “The Both Of You”?
What happens when we want to include “the both of you” as a phrase? It actually works in much the same way as “you both,” but isn’t as well-received.
“Both of you” is grammatically correct and recognized in standard English. “The both of you” is used to emphasize the two people you’re talking about; however, it’s not grammatically correct, and “the” is a redundancy in the sentence.
According to this graph, “both of you” is the most popular choice. That’s because it is the correct version of the two. However, “the both of you” still gets some usage, as you can see at the bottom of the graph.
While it’s not officially recognized as a correct phrase, that doesn’t mean it can’t be used. It works well in informal situations when you want to emphasize the “both” that you’re talking about.
The sentence structures are identical; you simply add “the” beforehand:
- Both of you should arrive tomorrow at noon.
- The both of you should arrive tomorrow at noon.
- I’m disappointed in both of you.
- I’m disappointed in the both of you.
Does “Both Of You” And “Each Of You” Have The Same Meaning?
Generally, “both of you” and “each of you” are not the same, and we’ll explain why.
“Both of you” refers to two people and only ever two people. “Each of you” refers to two or more people, though it mostly gets used to refer to more than two.
- I need to discuss these matters with each of you.
This example means that there are generally more than two people present to talk to.
- I need to discuss these matters with both of you.
This one means that only two people are present.
What Is The Difference Between “You Both” And “You Two”?
There is a minor difference between using “you both” and “you two.” Most native speakers don’t even know this, so if you can learn it, that’ll put you way ahead of anyone else.
“You both” isn’t a reflexive word. That means that two people don’t have to be doing the same thing when you use it. “You two” is reflexive, meaning that two people have to be doing the same thing to use it.
To help you understand what we mean, look at the following examples:
- Correct:You both need to come with me.
- Correct:You two need to come with me.
In this case, the two phrases are used interchangeably. We’re talking to two people and asking them to come with us, “both” and “two” are correct.
- Correct:How did you two meet?
- Incorrect:How did you both meet?
In this case, “both” is incorrect because we’re talking about two people meeting each other, which happened mutually. “You two” shows this mutual connection. “You both” means that two people met completely different people.
Is “Both Two” Correct”?
“Both two” is incorrect because “both” means “two.” It’s a reduplicative word. Saying “both two” means saying “two two” or “both both,” which are both wrong.
Is It Correct To Say “Thank You Both”?
“Thank you both” is correct to say when you want to thank two people for the work they’ve done for you. It only applies when there are two people present to thank.
You may also like: Is Saying “Thank You Both” Grammatically Correct? (Including Comma Rule)
Is It Correct To Say “You And Me Both”?
“You and me both” is correct to say when you want to talk about something that you have in common with someone else. It’s an informal saying and shouldn’t be used in formal situations.
Martin holds a Master’s degree in Finance and International Business. He has six years of experience in professional communication with clients, executives, and colleagues. Furthermore, he has teaching experience from Aarhus University. Martin has been featured as an expert in communication and teaching on Forbes and Shopify. Read more about Martin here.