Do You Have Problems Using Either Neither?

If using either neither is confusing for you, let’s learn together.

Exam in Mind Level B1

Either refers to any one of the two things or people. Either is always considered singular in a sentence.

I bought two shoes yesterday. Either shoes is for you.
I will choose either of these candidates for the student representation.
Either staff can come with me.
Was either of these students in the classroom yesterday?
Which one do you like, coffee or tea?  – Either. I don’t mind.
I don’t want either of them.

Using Either

Either is used before a singular noun as a determiner.

I chose these jackets. I think that either jacket fits you.
Two political parties are preparing for election. Either  party will be elected.
Last night those two cars were very fast. Either car could have made an accident. Luckily, they didn’t.

Using Either with orEither … or … / Either as a Conjunctioт) When either is used as a conjunction so we can express alternatives and/or a choice between two things or people.

We will eat either pizza or hamburger at the restaurant tomorrow.
Either you and Thomas had to complete the task.
You should choose either this car or that car. I can not take both of them together.
Either you leave your weapon or I will kill the girl.
Either he will be in peace with his wife or he will divorce.
Either you go by plane to that country or you get a lot of trouble during the journey.
The structure of either… or …  can also be used in different places in a sentences.
We can either have coffee or tea.
You will either leave my home or I will call the police.
I’ll either write to you or phone you next week.

Using Either with of. In this case verb can be singular or plural.

Either of my friends want / wants a pencil from me.
Either of these skirts can fit me.
Either of the children can say what happened in the classroom.
I don’t want either of them.
Either of you is / are very lucky.
I want to choose either of you for this contest.

Either can also be used alone. It means it doesn’t matter which alternative.

What kind of ice cream do you want, strawberry or chocolate? – Either.
What color ball do you want me to get you, yellow or green? – Either.

Either can be used at the end of the negative sentence to express the meaning like you, too, also:

I have never been in America. – I haven’t either.
I don’t want to become a teacher. –  My brother doesn’t either.

Either can be used as a subject in positive sentences and questions. However, either can be used as an object, not a subject in negative sentences.

Either of these stories is / are true.
Could either of you help us?
He doesn’t want either of his parents to know he is sick. ( Not his father and not his mother)

Using Neither

Neither has negative connotations, it means not either. The sentences with neither have a negative  meaning. Neither allows us to make a negative statement about two people or things at the same time.

Neither of my friends likes playing basketball.
Which one would you like coffee or tea? – Neither.
Neither one of them wants to do that.
Mary didn’t go to the party, and neither did Lisa. ( She didn’t go also.)
I can not speak neither Spanish nor French.

Neither is used as a determiner before a singular countable noun. The verb is always singular.

Neither postgraduate student could finish their articles.
Neither student got enough points to pass the course.
Neither book is mine.
Neither movie was educational.

Using Neither … nor … (Neither as a Conjunction)

Neither the green dress nor the pink dress is available for now in our shop.
Neither the students nor the teacher is in the classroom.
Neither Jason nor Donald came to the party.
Neither I nor my wife is tall. But our daughter is tall.
Neither Susan nor her friends are going to go to the party tonight.
Neither my mother nor my father knows how to read or write.
My brother neither smokes nor drinks.
neither know nor wonder where my wife is.
She will neither call him nor send him a message anymore.
They  neither can travel around the city nor can relax during job interviews.

Using Neither with of (In this structure the verb can be singular or plural):

Neither of my parents like / likes drinking coffee.
Neither of the answers is / are correct.
Neither of these students want / wants to do their homework.
Neither of them know / knows what troubles I have.
Neither of you is / are  always listening to what each other is talking about.
Neither of us has / have visited these countries.

Neither can also be used alone. It means not both or none of the two.

Is she a teacher or a student? – Neither. She is a parent.
What kind of cheesecake do you like, with strawberry  or with chocolate? – Neither.

Neither… nor can be used to express the meaning like you, too, also  in a negative sense. In this case we invert the auxiliary verb and the subject after neither … nor.

We haven’t seen Paul for a week. Neither has Kevin. ( the less formal alternative is ‘ Kevin hasn’t either.’)
I can’t speak English very well, nor can my friend.

Using Neither in a positive sentence and using either in a negative sentence gives the same meaning to the sentence.

I have neither an opinion nor a solution.
I don’t have  either an opinion or a solution. ( It means neither of them)
I want neither of you to help me.
I don’t want either of you to help me. ( It means neither of you)

Have practice in using Either Neither

Task 1. Can you use Either Neither correctly? Fill in the blanks with either or neither.

  1. I don’t like ______ of my science teachers.
  2. You don’t like him, do you? I don’t ______.
  3. Peter isn’t here today. Martha isn’t ______.
  4. I like ______ of them.
  5. I am ______ a conservative nor a liberal.
  6. He didn’t remember and ______ did I.
  7. ______ of them invited me so I didn’t go.
  8. ______ of them seemed interested in the offer.
  9. Mary didn’t turn up and ______ did Ruth.
  10. John didn’t pass the test, and Peter didn’t ______.
  11. He ______ smiled, spoke, nor looked at me.
  12. Alice can’t dance and ______ can Stella / Stella can’t ______.

Task 2. Using either neither. Choose the correct pair (either … or and neither … nor).

  1. In this game, you _____ win _____ lose. It depends on you.
  2. _____Sue _____ Sara will help you with your homework. They are both busy at the moment.
  3. This is my offer. You _____ take it _____ leave it.
  4. When I go to the restaurant, I eat _____ fish _____ roast chicken. These are my favorite meals.
  5. His father believed _____ his son _____ his friend. He thought that both were lying.
  6. I need _____ your help _____ your compassion. I can perfectly handle my problems all alone.
  7. _____ Charly _____ Bill will write the report. Just ask one of them.
  8. _____ you return the money you had stolen _____ I’ll call the police.
  9. My mum can _____ read _____ write. She is illiterate.
  10. You can use _____ this computer _____ the other one. Someone must fix them first.

I hope now it won’t be a problem in using either neither.