Either and neither can be used in several ways:
Adverbs, determiners, pronouns and conjunctions.
While ‘either’ has a positive connotation, ‘neither’ holds a negative one. Remember that we always find them paired up this way: either/or and neither/nor.
As an adverb to link words.
- Example 1: I don’t want to go. Neither do I.
- Example 2: I don’t want to go. No, I don’t want to go either.
As a determiner to talk about two choices or possibilities.
- Example 1: He can park on either (before the noun) side of the street.
- Example 2: There is a door at either (before the noun) end of the corridor.
As a pronoun to choose (either) ‘one or the other’ (neither) ‘not one or the other’. Following the structure: either/neither followed by of + noun phrase.
- Example 1: Both these roads go to Rome; you can go either way.
- Example 2: Does either of you speak Chinese?
- Example 3: It was a long time before either of them spoke.
- Example 4: Neither of my arms is strong enough to lift that suitcase.
- Example 5: I didn’t like either of the candidates.
- Example 6:
- Example 7: Neither German nor British intelligence can prove Russia is behind …
As a conjunction to offer a choice between two things. Either/or – Neither/nor.
- Example 1: You can either call me at home or at the office.
- Example 2:‘Either stand up or get out’: Varadkar called on to explain why …
- Example 3: Neither the blue one nor the red is available in size 4.
Idioms with either/neither
- neither hide nor hair: describe the complete absence of someone or something. Example: “and no one in media has seen hide nor hair of him”
- have neither chick nor child: A “chick’ is literally a young chicken or any baby bird meaning the person does not have any children. Example: I have neither chick nor child.
- neither rhyme nor reason: An absence of common sense or reasonableness.
- neither fish nor fowl: Meaning having no specific characteristics or category, not easily characterized. The phrase, which was originally “neither fish nor flesh nor fowl,” appeared in slightly different form in a 16th-century collection of proverbs as “neither fish, nor flesh, nor good red herring”: fish for monks who ate no meat, flesh for people who could afford meat, and cheap herring for the poor. Example: