How to Use Either or Neither: A Simple Guide

5 June 2023 / Team Fun English Course

If you’re new to learning English, the use of either or neither may generate confusion. However, once you master it, you will surely be more confident in your English skill. Not to mention the possibility to score higher on English tests.

So, how do you use either or neither? Without further ado, here’s a guide for you.

What is the Rule of Either and Neither?

What is the Rule of Either and Neither

First, understanding either and neither will be much easier if you know what the words are for. Generally, either and neither’s purpose is to connect two options or sentences, be they have positive or negative connotations.

Therefore, either or neither meaning highly depends on the context of the sentence. Sometimes, the words can mean too, also, any of the two, or even none of the two.

Since it links two options, ‘either’ is paired with ‘or’. Meanwhile, ‘neither’ is paired with ‘nor’. These are a few general examples as a starter;

  • Either you eat the vegetables or you cannot have dinner at all”
  • “Do you prefer to eat breakfast now or later? For me, either is fine”
  • Neither my car nor my dog wanted to eat, I think they are sick”

Furthermore, there are several functions of ‘either’ and ‘neither’. It can serve as a conjunction, adjective, adverb, determiner, or pronoun. Here’s how to use ‘either’ and ‘neither’ in a sentence according to those functions:

1. As a Conjunction

First thing first, let us refresh on the very basic topic in English; what is a conjunction?

To put it simply, a conjunction is a word to connect two or more options, sentences, or situations. Some examples you may already be familiar with are ‘and’, ‘but’, or ‘if’.

Then, how about ‘either’ and ‘neither’? Take a look at these examples;

  • You can either contact me by phone or email.
  • Either I or Mom will pick you up at school today.
  • Neither the shoes nor the dress you want is ready at the store. 

2. As a Pronoun

A pronoun is a word you use to replace a noun. Some of the more familiar examples are ‘he’, ‘she’, or ‘yourself’. Here are a few examples of ‘either’ and ‘neither’ as a pronoun;

  • Neither of my brothers is interested in you romantically. → None of my brothers are interested in you romantically.
  • Just pick one, either of the skirts looks good on you. → Both skirts look good on you.

3. As a Determiner

As a determiner, ‘either’ and ‘neither’ is used to give choices to others, with the intention for them to choose one of the situations. Moreover, it can also be used as a way to determine the outcome of the choices. These are the examples;

  • Neither of these roads will lead you to the city because it is the other way around. 
  • Either you attend the matchmaking now or not at all.

4. As an Adverb

Just like a pronoun, an adverb is the word you use to replace or modify a verb. Aside from that, it can also be used to change an adjective or another adverb. Here are the examples of adverbs in the context of ‘either’ and ‘neither’:

  • The hotel was fancy-looking, and it was not too crowded either.
  • The boss does not want to extend her contract, and neither do I

5. As an Adjective

As an adjective, ‘either’ and ‘neither’ emphasizes other to choose between the two, or none at all. Here are the example;

  • You may buy neither book as they are already booked. 
  • There were fish in either of the ponds.

The Importance of Learning ‘Either’ and ‘Neither’

Understanding the right use of ‘either’ and ‘neither’ will give you great advantages. By using them correctly, you will be able to form a simpler and clearer sentence, while still looking professional. Therefore, it is a good element to use in your English delivery.

If you are interested to know more about ‘either’ or ‘neither’, then rely on us in Fun English Course. Our A-list tutors will help you become an English master in a fun and creative way. So, do not hesitate to say hi to us to know more.

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