As a provider of professional English writing services I have always found both a bother in the language. I find that is used in many, many phrases as a redundant word. However grammarians do not seem to have cause to edit this word out and some of the most highly respected publications throw in the word bother with gay abandon, not paying heed to its redundant placing in a sentence.
Having spent many years as a sub-editor working to a ‘less is more’ protocol, every word must count.
Thus both is bothersome because it is so often superfluous. For example, in the sentence ‘Joan and Mary both have measles,’ the sentence can stand and mean the same thing if you write, ‘Joan and Mary have measles’. And, is a very efficient little word and does the job just fine. However, if you write ‘Joan and Mary are sick, they both have measles,’ both is functional in its own right.
If your write,’Catherine has two kids. Both are at nursery school’ both has a perfectly good function. But, in most cases where the word ‘and’ is used to couple two nouns, both is unnecessary and does not add to or clarify the meaning.
I particularly dislike, ‘Both Jake and Bill are top business men’, when ‘Jake and Bill are top businessmen,’ does the job adequately. I do not see a fit purpose for ‘both’ in this sentence.
I urge all practitioners of written English to dispense with an over-reliance on both, and only use it when absolutely necessary.
I also welcome discussion on this topic and would like to learn more about the origins of the usage of the word ‘both’.
All grammarians and practitioners of the English language welcome.