Using Either, Or and Neither, Nor

2019-04-13

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1
  • Today on Ask a Teacher, we answer a question from Mehdi in Iran.
  • 2
  • He writes:
  • 3
  • Question: Please explain about either/or and neither/nor. - Mehdi, Iran
  • 4
  • Dear Mehdi,
  • 5
  • The words either, or and neither are kinds of conjunctions, or words that join parts of a sentence together.
  • 6
  • English speakers use either ... or to talk about a choice between two things.
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  • On a beautiful spring day, one can say, "I will either ride my bicycle or walk to work."
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  • In this example, the structure with verbs is:
  • 9
  • You can also use either...or with nouns.
  • 10
  • For example, when it is time to eat lunch, I may tell my coworker, "I feel like eating either Chinese or Indian food today.
  • 11
  • The structure is:
  • 12
  • We understand that the speaker will choose only one of the two things.
  • 13
  • We use neither ... nor when the speaker will not choose from the options given.
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  • My friend is getting married at a seaside town in New Zealand.
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  • She says, "Neither rain nor snow will ruin the wedding."
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  • The structure is the same here:
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  • You can use neither...nor with verbs, too.
  • 18
  • One can say, "My brother is very healthy - he neither smokes nor drinks."
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  • The structure is:
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  • But if a sentence already has a negative word like "not," it is more common to use either.
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  • For example, "Sandy does not play either football or cricket."
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  • There are two ways of pronouncing either and neither.
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  • People in both the United States and Britain may say either with /i:/ at the beginning, as in "EE-thur" or with /ai/ at the beginning as in "EYE-thur."
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  • Choose one pronunciation and stay with it, so you will say the pair of words as "ee-thur" and "neethur" or say this pair: "eyethur" and "nyethur."
  • 25
  • And that's Ask a Teacher.
  • 26
  • I'm Jill Robbins.
  • 1
  • Today on Ask a Teacher, we answer a question from Mehdi in Iran. He writes:
  • 2
  • Question: Please explain about either/or and neither/nor. - Mehdi, Iran
  • 3
  • Answer:
  • 4
  • Dear Mehdi,
  • 5
  • The words either, or and neither are kinds of conjunctions, or words that join parts of a sentence together.
  • 6
  • Either...or
  • 7
  • English speakers use either ... or to talk about a choice between two things. On a beautiful spring day, one can say, "I will either ride my bicycle or walk to work." In this example, the structure with verbs is:
  • 8
  • EITHER verb OR verb
  • 9
  • You can also use either...or with nouns. For example, when it is time to eat lunch, I may tell my coworker, "I feel like eating either Chinese or Indian food today. The structure is:
  • 10
  • EITHER noun OR noun
  • 11
  • We understand that the speaker will choose only one of the two things.
  • 12
  • Neither...nor
  • 13
  • We use neither ... nor when the speaker will not choose from the options given. My friend is getting married at a seaside town in New Zealand. She says, "Neither rain nor snow will ruin the wedding." The structure is the same here:
  • 14
  • NEITHER noun NOR noun
  • 15
  • You can use neither...nor with verbs, too. One can say, "My brother is very healthy - he neither smokes nor drinks." The structure is:
  • 16
  • NEITHER verb NOR verb
  • 17
  • But if a sentence already has a negative word like "not," it is more common to use either. For example, "Sandy does not play either football or cricket."
  • 18
  • There are two ways of pronouncing either and neither. People in both the United States and Britain may say either with /i:/ at the beginning, as in "EE-thur" or with /ai/ at the beginning as in "EYE-thur." Choose one pronunciation and stay with it, so you will say the pair of words as "ee-thur" and "neethur" or say this pair: "eyethur" and "nyethur."
  • 19
  • And that's Ask a Teacher.
  • 20
  • I'm Jill Robbins.
  • 21
  • Dr. Jill Robbins reported on this story for VOA Learning English. George Grow was the editor.
  • 22
  • Do you have a question for Ask a Teacher? Write to us in the comments area and tell us your name and country. If you would like, you can also tell us one thing about yourself.
  • 23
  • ________________________________________________________________
  • 24
  • Words in This Story
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  • option - n. the opportunity or ability to choose something or to choose between two or more things
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  • Can you make a sentence with either/or? How about with neither/nor? Write to us in the Comments Section.