You two vs The both of you

Discussion in 'English Only' started by JanSquared, May 29, 2010.

  1. JanSquared New Member

    English - Malaysia
    I would like to know which of these sentences is grammatically correct. Or are they both grammatically correct?

    I want you two to observe this insect.
    I want the both of you to observe this insect.

    Thanks in advance! :)
     
  2. ewie

    ewie Senior Member

    This septic isle!
    NW Englandish English
    Hello Jan² ~ Welcome to the forum:)

    I'd say they're both grammatically correct, but they're both rather on the informal side, especially the second one.

    I want both of you ... would be the most neutral way of saying it, I think.
     
  3. Spira Senior Member

    South of France
    UK English
    As Ewie says, they are both correct, but:
    The first one would be awkward verbally because TWO could be confused with TOO.
    I would also eliminate the THE before BOTH in the second example.
    So while correct, neither sound totally natural.
     
  4. hem_dinesh

    hem_dinesh Senior Member

    india
    India- Local Dialect & English
    I was wonderting may be the second one is incorrect. Because 'the' in the second one doesn't make sense, am i right? I was mentioning this because spira said both are correct.
     
  5. George French Senior Member

    English - UK
    I want the both of you to observe this insect.

    Often said with the emphasis on both. It is then an order to the two of them..

    GF..
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2010
  6. hem_dinesh

    hem_dinesh Senior Member

    india
    India- Local Dialect & English
    Thanks Geroge I got it.
     
  7. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    Hi Jan

    I don't use "the both of" myself, though I do hear it sometimes - maybe it's used in some regional varieties of English more than in others.

    For me, the choice would be between "you two", "the two of you" and "both of you".
     
  8. jonmaz Senior Member

    melbourne
    English-Australia
    The two sentences (rightly or wrongly) create a master/pupil picture with me; particularly with the "the"inclusion.

    In an adult to adult situation, say in a museum, I might say, "Can you two observe..." or "Can you both observe..."

    In a home situation I might say, "Can you two guys please keep an eye on this insect while I call the exterminator!"
     
  9. JanSquared New Member

    English - Malaysia
    Ah, thanks so much for all the feedback! Thanks for the welcome, ewie. :)

    So, the conclusion is that "you two", while being grammatically correct, isn't encouraged when talking or writing since it is rather informal, am I correct?

    As for "the both of you", the best way to use it is to eliminate the "the" in the sentence. But the "the" usually creates a teacher-pupil situation where the teacher is ordering the pupil to do something, is that correct?

    Thanks so much! I really learnt a lot! :D
     
  10. Spira Senior Member

    South of France
    UK English
    YOU TWO is neither formal, nor informal. It's just confusing when spoken (because of TWO/TOO).

    As for the THE before BOTH creating anything at all, I don't think so. It's just unnecessary, and frequently said, but probably not incorrect grammatically. I don't think it adds anything to the sense.
     
  11. JanSquared New Member

    English - Malaysia
    Ok, thank you so much!! :)
     
  12. sound shift Senior Member

    Derby (central England)
    English - England
    These are my thoughts on the matter too.
     
  13. I too agree with Loob.

    '...the both of you' is heard more in AE than in BE.

    Rover
     
  14. Packard

    Packard Senior Member

    USA, English
    I hear a slight difference in meaning between "both of you" and "the both of you".

    "Both of you" sounds to me like two people acting as individuals.

    "The both of you" sounds like two people acting as a team.
     
  15. George French Senior Member

    English - UK
    The both of you are a waste of space. The the is for emphasis. These two individuals are completely useless. :)

    GF..
     
  16. Packard

    Packard Senior Member

    USA, English
    While I can imagine situations where the two of you has the for emphasis, this is not usually (or always) the case.

    For example:

    After a long and difficult business meeting held in the conference room with eight employees present, the boss says to Mike and Jim:

    The two of you stay and answer the phones until 5:00 p.m.; the rest of you can call it quits for the day right now.

    This is a "team" of two people selected from a group to perform a task.

    or

    After a similar meeting with the same eight employees the boss says:

    Two of you stay and answer the phones until 5:00 p.m.; the rest can take the rest of the day off.

    In this case it is any two and presumably the pair would be decided by the 8 employees.

    This is not a team selected by the boss, but rather just two individuals working later than the rest.
     
  17. estefanos Senior Member

    English - USA
    I come late to the party but want to chime in because the perception I share with Packard seems under represented. To my West Coast AE ear, both phrases are correct and have slightly different meanings:

    "both of you" refers to two people taken together as individuals.
    "the both of you" refers to two people taken together as a couple or team.

    The two phrases do, of course, overlap broadly.

    I also think "the both of you" may sometimes be used for euphony, as it creates a better rhythm. I believe I've heard "the both of you" (and also "the two of you") used for that purpose in toasts. ("Here's to the both of you" <> "Here's to both of you")

    Again, this is my West Coast AE perception. Judging from the rest of this thread, it seems obvious that what I'm saying does not apply to BE.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2013

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