Difference Between Either and Neither

Either vs Neither
 

Knowing the difference between either and neither is important as either and neither are two words that are to be understood as words with different meanings and usage. As words, there are some interesting facts about either and neither. Either has its origins in the Old English word ǣgther. Neither, on the other hand, has its origins in Middle English. Both words are used in phrases that are used in the English language. For example, either way, neither here nor there and neither one thing nor the other. Also, either is used as a conjunction, adverb, determiner and a pronoun. Neither, on the other hand, is used as a determiner, pronoun and an adverb.

What does Either mean?

Either is generally used as a determiner. It means ‘one or the other’ as in the following sentence.

Please come either on Tuesday or 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 following sentences.

I would like to have either.

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 given below.

‘I can’t either’ if somebody as an answer to ‘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 cannot climb too’.

What does Neither mean?

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 word neither is employed. Look at the two examples:

Neither book contains the answer.

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 given below.

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.

Difference Between Either and Neither

What is the difference between Either and Neither?

• Either is generally used as a determiner. It means ‘one or the other.’

• Sometimes, either is used as a pronoun, alone or with the preposition of.

• Sometimes, either is used in the sense of ‘too’ or ‘also’.

• On the other hand, the word neither is used before a singular noun when there is no article.

• When neither is used in a sentence, a singular verb is used as well as a singular noun.

• Neither is often used in combination with nor.