Grammar

Neither vs Either: What is the difference?

Sometimes is not clear whether to use either or neither, others it is just the lack of habit. Either reason,  if you would like to improve the quality of your speech this is something to look at. In my case is a combination of both. Let's review some useful rules!

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. 

As a conjunction to offer a choice between two things. Either/or –  Neither/nor.

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 fishnor 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:

    Uni-Tankers: The market is neither fish nor fowl without consolidation

How to pronounce either / neither?

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