Either and neither difference

Either and Neither, what is the difference?


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We use either and neither to talk about two similar things and choices to be made. They can be determinants, pronouns or adverbs.

1 – EITHER

Either is always associated with the idea of a choice between several alternatives. It is always followed by a name in the singular:

  • Either day suits me = A day or another day is ok for me.
  • Either solution is good. = Both solutions are good.

When it is subject (whether it is a determinant or a pronoun), the verb is in the singular:

  • Which pub shall we go? – We can go to either pub. 
  • We have two choices. Either (of them) is fine. 

Either is often followed by of and it can also be used with a plural name or pronoun in this case:

  • You can have either of the books. 
  • Either of the hotels will be fine. 

Not… either is the negative equivalent of too. It is often placed at the end of the sentence:

  • I don’t like wasting my time. – I don’t like it either. 
  • She hasn’t had anything to eat and I haven’t either. 

Either is often used with ‘or’:

  • You can either come with me or stay here. 
  • He’s either shy or bored. 

If this conjunction is used with the subject, the following verb is in the singular:

  • Either Sam or Tina has have taken it. 

You can use Either alone, without any names:

  • Do you want tea or coffee ? – Either. I don’t mind. 

To say “in any case”, “in either case”, we use the formula “Either way,…”:

  • You can stay, or you can go. Either way, I’m going home. 

On either side‘ means “on both sides, on both sides”:

  • You can park on either side of the road.

2 – NEITHER

Neither est négatif, il s’utilise pour exprimer un double refus. Il s’emploie toujours avec un verbe à la forme affirmative.

  • Neither movie is any good. 
  • Neither of them came. 
  • Neither is fine with me.
  • Neither solution is good. 

When it is subject (whether it is a determinant or a pronoun), the verb is in the singular

  • We have two players, but neither of them is ready for the game. 

Neither… nor: we find this formula mainly in writing, it is not normally used orally:

  • I like neither pizza nor pasta. (⚠ but we normally say ‘I don’t like pizza or pasta‘).
  • It’s neither good nor bad.  (⚠ but we normally say ‘It’s not good or bad‘).
  • They can neither read nor write. (⚠ but we normally say ‘They can not read or write‘).

If this conjunction is used with the subject, the following verb is in the singular:

  • Neither John nor Tina is coming tonight. 

Neither can be used alone, without any names:

  • Is your friend British or Australian? – Neither. he’s Canadian. 

How can I say “me neither”?

It is necessary to take the affirmative form of the auxiliary of the starting sentence:

  • She can’t swim. Neither can I.

The following formulas can be used:

Neither do I. (formal)  /  Me neither. (very familiar)  / I don’t either. (very familiar)

  • He doesn’t like running. Neither do I. /Me neither. 

We can also say “Neither do we”, “we don’t either”, “neither do they”… to answer a negative sentence.

 

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