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Either and Neither

Perfect English Grammar

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We use 'either + a singular noun' to mean 'this one or that one' when we are talking about two things of the same kind (like two drinks or two t-shirts).
  • Either drink is fine. I like both kinds.
  • We could go to either restaurant.
  • Julie might buy either t-shirt.
We use 'neither + a singular noun'' to mean 'not this one and also not that one' when we are talking about two things of the same kind.
  • Neither drink is fine. John hates both of them.
  • Neither restaurant is good. Let's go somewhere else.
We use 'either of + plural noun' and 'neither of + plural noun' before a pronoun or a word like 'this' or 'the' or 'my'.
  • Either of my dresses is good. (= this dress is good and also that dress is good.)
  • Either of us can get the key.
  • Neither of my dresses will do. (both of my dresses are not good.)
  • Neither of us will be on time.
We can use 'either' and 'neither' on their own when we have already said the noun.
  • Which drink would you like? Either is fine.
  • Which cake do you want? Neither! I'm going to have an apple.
If we want to talk about two different things, we can use 'either + noun + or + noun'. We don't need to use 'of' in this case.
  • Either coffee or tea is fine.
  • We could use either blue paint or red paint.
  • She will buy either some apples or some oranges.
We can also use 'neither + noun + nor + noun'. This tells us about two negative ideas, but it's quite formal. It's more normal just to use 'not + or'.
  • I don't like coffee or tea.
  • I like neither coffee nor tea.
We can also use 'neither' at the beginning of a sentence or clause. It means 'also not'. We need to use inverted word order afterwards.
  • I'm not at home. Neither is John.
This is often used to answer someone.
  • A: I don't like coffee. B: Neither do I.
In an informal style we can use 'me neither'.
  • A: I don't like coffee. B: Me neither.
We use 'not... either' to mean the same thing, but we use normal word order.
  • A: I don't like coffee. B: I don't either.
Try an exercise about 'either and neither' here.
Try another exercise about 'either and neither' here.