A Blog Challenge: NEITHER/EITHER

Well, when I am up to something, I usually realize my ideas. So, here we are with one more piece of English grammar.

Speaking about our everyday life, business, science and many other things, we often want to make a statement about TWO people, ideas, options at the same time or to connect two alternatives in one sentence. Fortunately, we don’t have to reinvent a wheel as we have all necessary ” tools”  in English grammar. These are words NEITHER/EITHER. Let’s start with EITHER.

EITHER means one or the other of the two or each of the two.

You may sit at either end of the table.

There are trees on either side of the river.

Either of us is able to answer your questions. (I mean my hubby and me).

NEITHER is negative. It means not the one or the other of the two. We seem to use it more often.

In formal English, we use it with a singular noun as a subject.

Neither parent came to the meeting.

Neither dress was good for that occasion.  (She had only two dresses).

However, we may use NEITHER OF + a plural noun with some attribute like an article, possessive pronoun, etc.

Neither of our (two) friends agreed to come.

Neither of us knows what to do.

Now, let’s see how to use these words in other cases.

First of all, we often use these words in a dialogue replying to a negative statement.

A:  I haven’t eaten today.

B: I haven’t, either.


B: Neither have I.

Now, if I want to say the same using only one sentence (like in the reported speech) I would say:

I knew he hadn’t eaten that day and neither had I.


I knew he hadn’t eaten that day and I hadn’t, either.

Let me say that the first sounds more natural for me although I am not a native speaker. However,  I have been living among them for many years.

Now, let’s see how to use NEITHER… NOR…

The rules are the same as for NOT ONLY… BUT ALSO…. But, please, pay your attention to the following rule.

If you use this construction as a noun, a verb must be in the same person and number as the last noun or pronoun:

Neither he nor I am going to take a rest.

Now, let’s see how to use the inversion and to make your sentence more emotional. We also use it after the negative clause speaking about the same person.

I don’t know him neither do I want to!

He hadn’t done any homework neither had he brought any of his books to class.

And now, I will ask you to write something using these expressions. It may be a short story, a dialogue, a news report or some poetry or anything you like.

If you still have any questions about this grammar, please ask before writing, OK?

Either I or Dan will correct your writing and explain your mistakes.

Ready to start a new challenge?! It is for you not to be bored! Hahaha!

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  • Either check or money order will do. *You can pay with a check or a money order)

    Neither candy nor flowers will cheer me up now. (Candy won't cheer me up and flowers won't cheer me up.)
  • Dear Bet, let me answer your question.

    1. You may sit at either end of the table.

    2. There are trees on either side of the river.

    In thse two sentences EITHER means different.

    1. A rectangular table has two ends. The sentence mean that you may sit at the one or the other end of the table. Of course, you can't sit at the two ends at the same time! LOL!

    2. A river has tow banks (sides). This sentence means that trees grow on each of the two sides. We can also say "There were trees on both sides of the river." The meaning is the same but... there is some difference. I am not sure of being able to explain it in English but I will try.

    The word BOTH unites while EITHER separates. Speaking about this example, BOTH just states a fact there are trees everywhere. The word EITHER contains alternative. It is something like this "Whatever bank(side) of the river we look at, either left or right, we will see the trees growing there".

    Is it clear now?

  • Dea Tanya, here is my second attempt.

    Thanks in advance for reading and pointing out my mistakes.


  • Dear Rose, you are always welcome!

  • Thanks, Tanya. I got you. I will write some other sentences.

  • Either of us is clear too.

  • You may sit at either end of the table.

    There are trees on either side of the river.

    Dear, Tanya now I think neither of us is clear to me but I need some more examples of these two types either, sorry to bother you!

  • Dear Rose, thanks for perticipation.

    Speaking about two first sentences, they are correct if you mean two people, for example, your husband and yourself.

    "Sometimes, it is not easy. Look at me! Neither my family members nor__ my friends speak English." COMPLICATED  sounds odd here. Besides, there was so called nonparallel structure in the second sentence (a plural noun in the first part and a singular noun in the second).

    "But neither the lack of possibilities of communication nor other reasons have prevented me from learning  till now."

    "Either of us is self-responsible for his progress. " The same as two first.

    "We can't blame someone else for failures, either the teachers or other students." (there must be only one negative in a sentence).

    "Reading books, watching movies or documentaries, either of them is very helpful. " No, it is incorrect. It should be "Both reading books and watching movies are very useful".

    "I watch videos with subtitles. Then I can choose watching either with subtitlesor without them. "

    "The same is about books. There are books that I can read and listen the same time. 
    But I either listen to the book or I read it. I never read and listen at the same time". (Neither is wrong in the last sentence).

    OK, I think you haven't got the meaning of EITHER/NEITHER. We say "either of us" meaning one or the other of TWO. We say "neither of us" meaning not one or the other of TWO. In Neither (1) or (2) 1 and 2 must be the same parts of speach, the same tenses, the same number, etc.

  • Roma, Onee, Diah, you all are more than welcome to take part! Please, leave the links here.

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