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Equivalent of “both” when referring three or more items?

Consider this statement:

Salads are both tasty and delicious.

Is there a natural way to use that construct with more than two adjectives? I can't come up with anything that sounds right to me. Two things that came to my mind were:

Salads are all three tasty, delicious, and healthy.

  • This one doesn't sound natural to me.

Salads are each tasty, delicious, healthy, and cheap.

  • I'm not sure if this is even valid English.

If someone can come up with a better title for this question, please do (and then remove this comment). Thanks!

marked as duplicate by Kit Z. Fox, aedia λ, JSBձոգչ, Marthaª, simchona Dec 27 '11 at 20:23

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

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    I agree that this is a duplicate, but for some reason the older question has accepted an answer that is, uh, less than useful. I think this will definitely be a candidate for merging. – Marthaª Dec 27 '11 at 19:20
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    @RegDwightѬſ道 Ah, thanks for pointing that out. I did not see that when I searched. – Josh Darnell Dec 27 '11 at 19:29

I agree with Monica that the form "Salads are a, b, c and d" is reasonable, and with Irene that placing All at the beginning of the sentence works ok.

Sticking a little closer to your original "Salads are both a and b" form, substituting at once for both allows

Salads are at once a, b, c and d

which to my ear is markedly less clumsy than the previously suggested form,

Salads are all of a, b, c and d

  • +1, I like this one the most so far. It sticks very closely to what I was going for structurally. – Josh Darnell Dec 27 '11 at 17:53

If you need to call it out explicitly (as you do with "both"), then:

Salads are all of tasty, delicious, healthy, and cheap.

You could say "each of" instead of "all of", but not just "each" -- that would be ungrammatical the way you have it, and could lead people to believe you're talking about multiple salads instead of multiple characteristics.

You wouldn't say "all three", but you could say "all three of".

But in most cases you don't need the word at all:

Salads are tasty, delicious, healthy, and cheap.

  • Thank you for explaining the grammar problem in my examples! I agree that the last example you give is much more common / useful =) – Josh Darnell Dec 27 '11 at 19:27

Both in such sentences may be replaced with simultaneously without your having to alter the structure of the sentence.

Salads are simultaneously tasty, delicious, healthy, and cheap.

Both essentially means two together; simultaneously means occurring at the same moment.

  • Very nice, I like simultaneously as well. – Josh Darnell Dec 27 '11 at 19:12

You could add italics:

Salads are tasty, delicious, healthy, and cheap.

It emphasizes the "and"; that is, that salads have all of these qualities, not just some. It also has a side effect of putting a bit more emphasis on the last adjective in the list, but that might be an effect you are looking for.

  • Nice and simple. I'd stress the 'and' in speech, and use italics in informal writing, but perhaps leave them out in anything more formal. But you get my vote anyway. – RandomIdeaEnglish Dec 27 '11 at 19:21
  • Good point, @RandomIdeaEnglish...I agree that you would want to eschew the italics for formal writing. – JeffSahol Dec 27 '11 at 21:17

Your sentence would be correct like this:

All the salads are tasty, delicious, healthy and cheap.

The use of all in the beginning of the sentence ensures that the qualities described by each adjective apply to all the salads.

If you have different types of salads, then you can have a sentence of this style:

All four types of salads are tasty, delicious, healthy and cheap.

EDIT upon comments: Since you are talking about salads in general, then it should be:

All salads are tasty, delicious, healthy and cheap.

  • I think the "all" that OP is looking for applies to the adjectives, not to the salads. – Monica Cellio Dec 27 '11 at 17:47
  • I think the OP is asking how to construct this statement with three or four adjectives but while talking about salad in general, not any specific salads. (All three of the adjectives describe salads, but not a particular three salads.) – aedia λ Dec 27 '11 at 17:48
  • @aediaλ (and Monica) - Exactly! – Josh Darnell Dec 27 '11 at 17:49

You seem to ask for a way of implying a contrast between adjectives, i.e., healthy vs tasty.

One might say:

"Salads are not only healthy, they are tasty and delicious."

Implying a contrast between three adjectives might use a little italicizing as a hint about how to stress words:

"Not only are salads healthy, they are tasty, and they are inexpensive."


We say all three of them, all four of them, ..., all seventy-nine of them, ..., etc. It turns out, though, that *all two of them is ungrammatical.

As is often the case with special numbers like one or two or twelve, there is a special word, both, which we use instead of the ungrammatical *all two. If you want technical terminology, it's a Definite Dual Universal Quantifier -- and it's a Suppletive variant of *all two, just like ever is a Suppletive variant of *anywhen.

  • Non-standard maybe, but ungrammatical? The OED has this from a Caribbean source: ‘All two of them is giants at stick-licking. They never fight before, but Jasper is mob-o'-ton of a stickman’ and this from a US source: ‘I'll tear down all two of you. Now git down and pick up ever' one o' them peas and wash 'em off.' – Barrie England Dec 27 '11 at 20:25
  • Note other dialectalisms in the transcription. Is "Both of them is giants" better? Your call; I don't care. Caribbean English is not my speciality; I'm not a sociolinguist. – John Lawler Dec 27 '11 at 21:25
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    Indeed. What is ungrammatical in Standard English may not be so in other varieties of the language, including, but not only, Caribbean. – Barrie England Dec 27 '11 at 22:09

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