This particular example comes from a peer-reviewed publication with authors who seem to be native speakers:

This trend is both popular and has presented a variety of challenges

I wonder if this is grammatical?

If this sentence didn't have "both", we would parse it as follows:

This trend ((is popular) and (has presented a variety of challenges))

But with "both", what do we have?

This trend is both ((popular) and (has presented a variety of challenges))

but this gives us "is has presented", so this parsing is incorrect. Alternatively, we could try

This trend ((is both popular) and (has presented a variety of challenges)).

but then "both" goes inside the first coordinate. This is different from, say,

You and me both

where it's at the end.

  • Comments have been moved to chat; please do not continue the discussion here. Before posting a comment below this one, please review the purposes of comments. Comments that do not request clarification or suggest improvements usually belong as an answer, on English Language & Usage Meta, or in English Language & Usage Chat. Comments continuing discussion may be removed.
    – tchrist
    Nov 14, 2023 at 22:45
  • @Lambie - it was migrated; ELL rejected it for some reason. Nov 16, 2023 at 0:59
  • @Heartspring I think it should go back there. Thanks though for letting me know.
    – Lambie
    Nov 16, 2023 at 1:01
  • @Heartspring The current two answers state that this is grammatical. But of the comments that are now in "chat", some opined that this is ungrammatical. So the answer isn't obvious. This question isn't ELL-level.
    – MWB
    Nov 17, 2023 at 19:31

2 Answers 2


As Huddleston & Pullum (2002) note, while both and either typically occur at the start the first coordinate in a coordination, they don't necessarily do so (p. 1307). They give the example:

Usually he is either too busy to come with us or else has no money.

They say that "placement in these non-basic positions is quite common, particularly with either, though usage manuals tend to regard it as stylistically undesirable." I would agree on both points.

  • I don't think the issue is both. The issue is lack of parallelism in the sentence.
    – Lambie
    Nov 16, 2023 at 1:05
  • 1
    @Lambie The sentence doesn't have a lack of parallelism. The "and" in OP's example is joining "is popular" and "has presented a variety of challenges." It's just that the word "both" occurs within the first of those two.
    – alphabet
    Nov 16, 2023 at 1:22
  • "is popular" and "has presented x" is a complete lack of paralellism. With or without both, there is no paralellism. He is popular and rich. They ate chestnuts and drank beer. Those are parallel.
    – Lambie
    Nov 16, 2023 at 1:27
  • @Lambie Parallelism is a very stringent standard. Wikipedia gives this sentence as an example of LACKING parallelism: "The dog ran across the yard, jumped over the fence, and sprinted away." I think we can all agree that this sentence is fine even without parallelism?
    – MWB
    Nov 16, 2023 at 2:40
  • @MWB For me that sentence you gave is parallel. Lack of parellelism is when the actual structure of the bits are different as in the given example. "X is popular" AND "Y has presented a variety of challenges".
    – Lambie
    Nov 16, 2023 at 16:34

Sample: This trend is both popular and has presented a variety of challenges.

Answer: Yes, it is grammatical.

A be verb (is) as copular followed by active verb with direct object. That is not parallelism

That sentence is both grammatical and unparallel. You can remove the word both and it remains grammatical and unparallel.

  • 1
    Note that the question never asked about parallelism.
    – MWB
    Nov 16, 2023 at 20:35
  • @MWB That's right it wasn't but it is the only thing that explains that both refers to both parts of the sentence. The trend is both A and B, A and B are not parallel. So what? He was both a nice man and loved to party. Same thing.
    – Lambie
    Nov 16, 2023 at 20:58
  • "...the only thing that explains that both refers to both parts of the sentence" -- The lack of parallelism allows "both" to refer to both parts of the sentence? I don't think this is true. Consider "He was both easy to talk to and hard to disagree with" This is parallel, while your "He was both a nice man and loved to party." wasn't. They are both grammatical. And both have "both" refer to both parts of the sentence.
    – MWB
    Nov 17, 2023 at 18:34
  • @MWB You are twisting my words and I really dislike that. The OP's sample sentence is grammatical but not parallel. It's so simple really.
    – Lambie
    Nov 18, 2023 at 14:22

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