Either or Neither?

We use ‘either’ and ‘neither’ to talk about a choice between two options. If you are confused about which word to use, you can think of ‘either’ as positive, and ‘neither’ as negative.

EITHER

Either means ‘one or the other’, or ‘this or that’.
Here are some examples:

Either of the applicants would do a great job. Which one should we choose?
What should we do tonight? We can either go to a movie or go out to eat.
You can either pay by cash or credit card.

Notice that in each sentence, both options are good. Either choice is desirable.

We also use ‘either’ to mean ‘as well’ or ‘likewise’. Here, it is to express agreement. Notice that it occurs in negative sentences, at the end of the sentence. It refers to the action.
For example:

If you don’t trust Frank, than I don’t either.
You don’t like tomatoes? I don’t like them either.
My father won’t forget your kindness. I won’t (forget) either.

Your turn!
Think of a sentence with ‘either’.

NEITHER

Neither means ‘not either’. It is ‘not one and not the other’, or ‘not this and not that’.
Here are some examples:

Neither of the applicants are acceptable. We need to keep looking.
I neither want to go to a movie nor go out to eat. Let’s stay home tonight.
I have neither cash not credit at the moment.

We also use ‘neither’ as ‘not as well’. Both actions are negative, to express agreement.
For example:

If you don’t trust Frank, then neither do I.
You don’t like tomatoes? Neither do I.
My father won’t forget your kindness. Neither will I.

Your turn!
Think of a sentence with ‘neither’.

CAN YOU PASS THE QUIZ?

A NOTE ABOUT NEITHER

‘Neither’ isn’t commonly used in modern North American English. When you do hear it, we pronounce the ‘ei’ in ‘neither’ like the letter E.

‘Neither’ is more common in British English, and they pronunce the ‘ei’ as the letter I. Avoid using this pronunciation in American English, as it can be considered pretentious.