Learn How to use Either and Neither (video and QUIZ)

EITHERadverb – Comes after negative phrases to say that a feeling or situation is similar to one already talked about 
Mike can’t go and Spencer can’t either.
EITHERdeterminer/pronounone or the other of two; it does not matter which 
You can park on either side of the street. (It doesn’t matter which side of the street you park on, both sides are OK.)
NEITHERadverb – Say that a negative statement is also true for another person/thing 
Mike didn’t go to school today and neither did Spencer.
NEITHERdeterminer/pronoun – not one nor the other of two things or people
Neither answer is correct. (Both answers are wrong.)

Definitions from http://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/

How to use Either and Neither

We will learn how to use Neither and Either in today’s post.

The word either sometimes has a similar meaning to the word neither but they are often confused and used incorrectly. In this blog post, I will explain the difference so you can use these words correctly and with confidence.

Video, QUIZ and infographic link at the bottom of the page

Either and Neither as adverbs

When both words are used as adverbs the meaning is almost exactly the same:
     (Click the words to hear their pronunciation)
either adverb used after negative phrases to state that a feeling or situation is similar to one already mentioned

“Pete can’t go and I can’t either.”

A: “I don’t like spicy food.” 
B: “Me either.” 

*For me personally, I prefer using neither in this situation, but either is acceptable in informal North American English.

“Scott didn’t come to the party. Leanne didn’t come either.”


neither adverb used to show that a negative statement is also true of somebody/something else

“He didn’t remember and neither did I.”

A: “I don’t like spicy food.” 
B: “Me neither.”

“I invited everyone from the office to the party, but Scott didn’t come. Neither did Leanne now that I think about it. Maybe they are dating?”

*We can also use neither to talk about a negative situation that applies to 2 people or groups.

“Scott and Leanne said they were coming, but neither of them showed up.”

“The 2 countries are finally talking. It seems like neither country wants to start a war.”

How to use Neither and Either
A: “I don’t like spicy food.” 
B: “Me neither.”

Compare these 2 examples. The meaning is the same but the grammar is different.

Steve couldn’t remember her name. I couldn’t remember it either.

Steve couldn’t remember her name and neither could I.

As determiners or pronouns

When both words are used as determiners or pronouns they have different meanings:

neither (determiner, pronoun) not one nor the other of two things or people
Neither answer is correct.” (both answers are wrong)

A: “Which do you like?”

B: “Neither. I think they’re both ugly.” (I don’t like the first choice, I also don’t like the second choice)

Learn more about Fact or Opinion adjectives HERE.

How to use Neither and Either
Neither of them has a car.

“Doug and Jeff both have their driver’s licenses, but neither of them has a car.”

either (determiner, pronoun) ① one or the other of two; it does not matter which

“You can park on either side of the street.” (it doesn’t matter which side of the street you park on, both sides are OK)

“You can keep one of the photos. Either of them—whichever you like.” (you can choose one of the two photos to keep, it
doesn’t matter which one. Each of the two possible choices is OK)

“We need one more chair for dinner tonight. There are two chairs in the garage, either one is fine.”

 ② each of two
“The offices on either side of the hall were empty.” (the offices on the left side and the right side of the hall were both empty)

How to use Neither and Either
There are good spots on either side of the river.

You have to dark suits, either one is fine to wear to the party. (It doesn’t matter which suit, both are okay.)

The problem is neither of my suits is clean and the party is tonight. (Not one of my two black suits is clean.)

Watch the video below to improve your English listening skills and help your pronunciation.

*One small grammar mistake in the video. The 2nd image should say “Neither of them has a car.” The correct grammar is in the image above. Thanks to a YouTube subscriber for finding that!

Try my EITHER or NEITHER interactive quiz!

Click the button below and try the EITHER / NEITHER quiz I made with Google forms:

PIN it!

Comments 6

  1. I was taught: “Each” means one and the other. “Either” means one or the other.
    “There are parking spaces on each side to the street.” That is, left and right, or North and South, etc.
    “You can park on either side of the street.” That is, left or right, but not both at the same time.

    1. Post
      Author

      When EITHER is used as a pronoun your meaning is correct. The adverb EITHER is often confused with the adverb NEITHER, that is what this post tries to clarify. Thanks for your COMMENT!

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