# A and B (both) went skiing

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#### meijin

##### Senior Member
Hi, I searched the forum with "both" and "and" but none of the threads displayed seemed to answer this entry-level question, so I've decided to create this thread with a more helpful title.

1. John and Carl went skiing during the winter holiday.
2. John and Carl both went skiing during the winter holiday.

I think #1 means they went skiing either together or separately depending on the context, while #2 means they went skiing separately (if "separately" is the right word).

• #### whir77

##### Senior Member
The sentences mean the same thing. Both is just reinforcing John and Carl in sentence two.

#### meijin

##### Senior Member
Thanks whir77. So, the most important question is, would you think they went skiing together or not if you heard #1 or #2?

#### whir77

##### Senior Member
Thanks whir77. So, the most important question is, would you think they went skiing together or not if you heard #1 or #2?
Yes, I would think that they went skiing in both sentences.

#### meijin

##### Senior Member
Thanks whir77, but what I wanted to know wasn't actually whether they went skiing or not. It's whether they went skiing together or not.

Here's another example.

1. John and Carl bought a boat.
2. John and Carl both bought a boat.

How many boats were bought in #1 and #2?

#### whir77

##### Senior Member
Thanks whir77, but what I wanted to know wasn't actually whether they went skiing or not. It's whether they went skiing together or not.

Here's another example.

1. John and Carl bought a boat.
2. John and Carl both bought a boat.

How many boats were bought in #1 and #2?
They bought a boat.

#### meijin

##### Senior Member
So, if I want to say that John bought a boat and Carl also bought a boat, I should say "John and Carl each bought a boat"?

#### whir77

##### Senior Member
Yes, both sentences are correct, each is an excellent way to separate happenings.

#### meijin

##### Senior Member
So, "John and Carl both bought a boat" can mean either: they together bought a boat, or they each bought a boat.
How about "John and Carl bought a boat"? Can it also mean either?

#### whir77

##### Senior Member
So, "John and Carl both bought a boat" can mean either: they together bought a boat, or they each bought a boat.
How about "John and Carl bought a boat"? Can it also mean either?
When I read your examples, I instantly thought that they both bought the boat together.

#### suzi br

##### Senior Member
This kind of thing is context dependent. In a real conversation I'd know who you are talking about and that would inform my understanding of the sentences. If they are a couple I'd assume they did the activity together or bought the item together. If they are people you and I know but who are not connected to each other I would assume they did things seperately.

Adding "both" into the mix adds an sort of emphasis. We don't only know one person who bought a boat, but TWO - WOW - that's amazing they can both afford to buy a boat! I'd be thinking of two boats.

In that sense your original assumption that adding "both" sugests that they did things seperately is correct. If they are a couple I would not generally use "both" when describing an activity they did together.

#### Hermione Golightly

##### Senior Member
Sentences don't appear out of thin air - language is meaningful communication and should not be an arrangement - of words- puzzle to be solved.
You devise a context and then think up how best to express it. You yourself said this in the OP.
It's not what does this sentence mean but does this sentence express the meaning I wish to convey.

#### meijin

##### Senior Member
Thank you all very much. I'll avoid using "both" when the sentence can mean either. Your replies and the following thread which I've just found and read made me decide it (Have a look. It's interesting).
"They both" vs "They each"

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