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Difference Between Either and Neither

Either vs Neither

Either and Neither are two words that are to be understood as words with different meanings and usage. Either is generally used as a determiner. It means ‘one or the other’ as in the sentence ‘Please come either on Tuesday or on Wednesday’. In this sentence the word ‘either’ is used as a determiner and in the sense of ‘one or the other’.

Sometimes either is used as a pronoun, alone or with the preposition ‘of’ as in the sentences ‘I would like to have either’ and ‘Has either of his brothers called on you?’ In both the sentences ‘either’ is used as a pronoun, in the first sentence it is used alone and in the second sentence it is used with the preposition ‘of’.

Sometimes ‘either’ is used in the sense of ‘too’ or ‘also’ as in the sentence ‘I can’t either’ if somebody says ‘I can’t climb’. In this sentence the word ‘either’ is used in the sense of ‘too’ and gives the meaning of the sentence as ‘I can’t climb too’.

On the other hand the word ‘neither’ is used before a singular noun when there is no article. You should remember that the verb used is singular whenever the neither is employed. Look at the two examples:

1. Neither book contains the answer.

2. Neither car is expensive.

In both the sentences given above you can see that the word ‘neither’ is used with a singular noun assisted by a verb in the singular form too.

Neither is often used in combination with ‘nor’ as in the sentence ‘Neither Francis nor Phillip was at home when I went’. It is interesting to note that you will get the sense of the absence of both the persons, namely, Francis and Phillip, by the usage of neither followed by ‘nor’.


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