Qual a diferença entre both of them and two of them?

Hello dear friends!

Could please tell me what the difference between "both of them" and "the two of them" would be?

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6 49 1.3k
Let´s go by parts.
-Part I -

In this case I agree with you, the article "the" suggests a group is singled out. With a slightly different nuance, but the end result is one and the same.
Piggybacking on your examples:

1 - The two of them are very good teachers. (only two people)
Os dois são muito bons professores.
Aqui vejo como um grupo, talvez eles até sejam um equipe, ou não. Mas ao falar pode-se pensar como "um todo".
Eu poderia fazer uma analogia com a frase "just between the two of us." (cá entre nós, entre eu e você. - o todo, o grupo eu e você.) Querendo dizer, pode haver mais pessoas, mas a gente "separou esse grupo de dois" para se destacar.

2 - Both of them are very good teachers. (only two people)
Ambos são muito bons professores.
(mas aqui sugere que a "ação (ou estado) de ser bom professor é dividida pelos dois professores, individualmente. Podendo eles serem um grupo ou não.)

Anyway, I think if you use one for the other many people won´t even notice, it´s not big deal (as I said the end result is the same...)
There´s some intersection in the meanings and senses.


- Part II -

3 - The three of you are doctors. (Three people)
I agree, "vocês dois" (to a degree, that has a ring of singling them out from the wider group), I am talking about the three of you (perhaps the guys are more or less in a circle, seemingly being chummy), albeit I could be asking to them about others of a wider group (in a party, for example.) But no, I am talking about the three of you.

Without the article "the" you could use alternatively the all-N structure, instead of "both".
Re-explaining that: "the equivalent of both, for N>2, is All N: all three, all four, all seventy-three of them."
http://English.stackexchange.com/questi ... more-items

Thus you could get to that same party, and point out a group of three people and tell me "...at the corner over there, see those three guys? All of three are doctors. [granted, it´s not specified by "the" anymore. So, it´s in a general way, not singling them out, sort of.]

4 - They are all doctors. (Here, a set of three people, or more...)
You guessed it right. And you could also use the above structure as well, if you wish.
So, alternatively could be "All three are doctors." (this would narrow the options just to a set of only three people, though.)



And while at it...

More about the article "THE"
Someone talking about his childhood, revealed that about her dolls "...my playset comprised ten figurines, two of them were doctors, six of them were nurses, and two of them were patients."

Should it be reprased into "...my playset comprised two figurines, the two of them were doctors."
See? the article THE makes the playset be comprised of two, now. It´s the article (THE) to take the blame!

Finally, (a bit of straying from the point, but...)
There are some grammatical catches to the subject of "both of". For example, "both" is used without "of" if there is not article, possessive or demonstrative with the noun :

I´ve got blisters on both feet. (not...both of thefeet.)

From Practical English Usage by Michael Swan - Impression 1984, Oxford Press- Entry # 115.
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Both significa ambos e seria melhor aplicada na situação que só existisse 2 elementos.
2 of them seria melhor aplicada numa situação com mais de 2 elementos

Exemplo com BOTH
We got 2 kids, both like milk.

Exemplo com 2 OF THEM
We got 5 kids, 2 of them don't like milk.
6 49 1.3k
Two of them (dois deles/dois dos quais...)
Both of them (ambos/os dois)

"Two of them" refer to two individuals of a group/of a sample
Whereas with "both of them" you refer to a group made up by two (that, generally, have collectively performed one action or has a common trait, bond, connection or link between them)


Notice: that is just an answer, not much grammar-focused but a p.o.v. from a learner (so a layman view). So, more comments may come in store, and they are mostly welcome.
a- both of them like smooth jazz

b- they come from USA, but two of them are from England
6 49 1.3k
It worth noticing that "both" can be used to people or things (so, don´t be misled by the word "individual" wich I had previously used), albeit we generally see a lot of examples with people (it´s almost instinctive)!

And a rather good definition to "both" :
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Thank you all for your comments.

For me it's clear the difference between "both of them" and "two of them", what it's not clear is the difference between "the two of them" and "both of them".


1 - The two of them are very good teachers. (only two people)
2 - Both of them are very good teachers. (only two people)

3 - The three of you are doctor. (Three people)
4 - They are all doctors. (Three people)

O que eu suspeitei e gostaria de confirmar é se este "The two of you...", The four of you...", etc significa, Vocês dois...", Vocês quatro..." etc.
Desculpem por ter me expressado mal.