Distributives

Hi, Egyptian2017,

My tentative answer is that they are both correct, but I'd like to research the matter and have no time to do so at the moment.

Instead of saying, "My tentative answer is that they are each correct," I might say, "My tentative answer is that each of them is correct."

But "They are each correct" and "Each of them is correct" mean the same thing. Indeed, it is even possible to say, "They are each of them correct."

Intuitively, I agree with what our newcomer Graham told you in your other thread about the same thing, minus his advertisement, which I deleted.

"Each" would be used to give more emphasis to the separate individuals of the pair, whereas "both" just redundantly clarifies that you're talking about both.

In (1), "both" or "each" would most normally appear after "are." Even though "are" is the main verb, it is also an auxiliary, cf. "Are they very good?"

In (2), "both" or "each" needs to be before "have," because main-verb "have" is not an auxiliary verb, unlike main-verb "be."

I would more naturally use "both" in (1). In (2), however, "each" works well: They have one mobile phone apiece. With "both," the plural would be natural.

  • They both have mobile phones.

And of course that is ambiguous. Do they each have one or more than one? Notice how I just used "each." It wasn't contrived. I did so naturally.

Would you mind telling us why you are asking this question? Did somebody in Egypt tell you that "each" was incorrect? Or are you just theorizing by yourself?

First of all , I would like to thank you for your interest in my question 

Concerning your inquiry if someone in Egypt told me that " each " is incorrect , actually no one did but I met the two questions in a book we teach here in Egypt and the given answers are " both " for both questions , so " each " is considered incorrect ( which I disagree with )

I think " each " and " both " are correct in both questions , right ?

Concerning number 1 I agree with you that "both" or "each" should appear after "are. ( it was a typo )

Please have a look at the attachmentSnap 2018-09-23 at 12.19.50Snap 2018-09-23 at 12.19.19two restaurants

Attachments

Photos (3)
egyptian2017 posted:

Concerning your inquiry if someone in Egypt told me that " each " is incorrect , actually no one did but I met the two questions in a book we teach here in Egypt and the given answers are " both " for both questions , so " each " is considered incorrect ( which I disagree with ) [. . .]

Please have a look at the attachmentSnap 2018-09-23 at 12.19.50Snap 2018-09-23 at 12.19.19two restaurants

Hello again, Egyptian2017,

If the circled answers in your attached images are the answers provided by the textbook, it appears that the textbook thinks that "each" should be used instead of "both" in "My parents each have a cell phone" and that "both" should be used instead of "each" in "There are two restaurants by the park and they are both very good."

I wonder, then, if you have misread the answer to "My parents ___ have a mobile phone."  The book appears to think that "each" is the only answer. "Both" would also work, but the meaning would be unclear. One might suppose that the mother and father share a mobile phone. And if the plural was used ("My parents both have mobile phones"), they each might have more than one mobile phone.

Thus, "each" is desirable in "My parents ___ have a mobile phone," but "both" is not incorrect. In the other sentence ("There are two restaurants by the park and they are ___ very good), "both" does work very well, though "each" is also possible.  The reason "both" is more natural than "each" in that sentence is that there is no reason to emphasize separateness, as there is in the other example.

In the end, then, it appears that your book does not have a misconception that "each" cannot be used in reference to two individuals. It recognizes that that is possible. But it fails to recognize that, where reference to two individuals is concerned, the correctness of "each" does not imply that "both" is incorrect, and vice versa: the correctness of "both" does not imply that "each" is incorrect.

We deal frequently with textbook questions from Egyptian textbooks on the Grammar Exchange, and for the most part it seems as though you have textbooks of high quality. If there is one pattern of error we see, it is that the textbook and test authors often view only one answer as correct. That is only natural. If there were only one answer, English would be like math. But it isn't.

I looked in some books last night to see if I could find an express endorsement of the use of "each" when the reference is to two individuals, and did not find anything, but I know that it is correct. For example, if I were speaking of two boys, I might say, "I gave them each a dollar," to clarify that I didn't give, say, fifty cents (two quarters) to one boy and fifty cents to the other. Passivized, the sentence is:

  • They were each given a dollar.

Add Reply

Likes (0)
×
×
×
×