hi I have a problem with this phrase " on both accounts". what's the definition? I see this phrase in TOEFL IBT tes 7. the student said two characteristic of something and the teacher said that.

****sorry I listen again to thas lecture and I think she said on both counts and this means in both ways. according to longman dictionary: on all/several/both etc counts=in every way, in several ways etc

closed as unclear what you're asking by FumbleFingers, TimLymington, anongoodnurse, tchrist, RegDwigнt Jul 20 '14 at 15:14

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  • 2
    You need to give a complete context for this to be answerable, but very likely the normal usage would be on both counts. – FumbleFingers Jul 19 '14 at 15:32
  • STUDENT : finding foods and not becoming a food for other animals. Teacher : Right, on both accounts – Bahar JafariZadeh Jul 19 '14 at 21:15

I don't think there's any possibility that right on both accounts could ever be uttered by a native speaker who also knew right on both counts and considered that to have a different meaning.

I'm inclined to interpret this NGram as evidence of an increasing number in recent decades (but still a tiny minority) who've misheard or misremembered the normal usage...

...but I do acknowledge that there's a strong historical/etymological connection between count and account here. OED's closest definition is...

count noun,
5b: the act or way of estimating or regarding; estimate, regard, notice, note; = account n. IV.;
esp. in phr. to take, make, set (no) count of (upon, by) . arch.

But I'd set more count/account by this Merriam-Webster definition...

count noun,
3a: allegation, charge; specifically : one separately stating the cause of action or prosecution in a legal declaration or indictment (e.g. - "guilty on all counts")
3b: a specific point under consideration : issue

(For the specific usage under consideration here, that last highlighted definition applies! :)

  • I've heard both. I suspect you're right that "both accounts" is a back-formation combining/confusing "on account of" and "on both counts". But I think the meaning's clear even if the usage is questionable. – keshlam Jul 20 '14 at 4:40
  • @keshlam: Well, You're right on both accounts occurs in Byron's Don Juan from a couple of centuries ago, which is why I acknowledged some historical justification after presenting the usage chart. But yeah - I still think most recent instances owe more to faulty acquisition/reproduction than linguistic die-hards trying to revive an antiquated form. – FumbleFingers Jul 20 '14 at 11:58

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