Do you think you use Either, Neither, Nor, and Or correctly

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Have you ever had trouble deciding when to utilize either or neither? If you have, don't be concerned; you are not alone. Even native speakers sometimes get things mixed up like this! Knowing tiny grammatical techniques like these might help you recognize the difference between words. Adverbs, determiners, pronouns, and conjunctions can all be used with either or neither. While the word 'either' has a good meaning, the word 'neither' has a negative connotation. They are always coupled this way: either/or and neither/nor.

Where to use Either/or and neither/nor

Either and neither can be used in various ways. They can function as adverbs, adjectives, determiners, pronouns, or conjunctions. As an example:

  • "Do you either speak Spanish?"

Either is a pronoun in this statement.

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  • "Neither of these shirts fits me correctly."

Neither is an adjective in this statement.

To express two or more alternatives or choices, "either" is used in the exact phrase "or." As an example:

  • "Choose Either Blue or Black"

"Neither" is used in the exact phrase as "nor" to indicate that something is false or does not occur due to two or more individuals, acts, objects, concepts, or traits. As an example

  • "Neither Harry nor Jones attend the meeting."

Point to remember:

Use a single verb in the phrase if both the subjects (nouns) are singular when using either/or and neither/nor, for example:

  • "Either my mother or my father is arriving."

In this statement, the singular verb is "is." 

However, if one of the subjects is Plural, you must use a plural verb. For example: 

  •  "Either my mother or my sisters are coming," 

In this statement, the plural verb is "are."

What distinguishes neither/nor from either/or?

The primary distinction between these two sets of terms is that either and or are used in a positive context to indicate a decision or course of action, as in 

  • "I will either walk or sprint." 

In a negative context, the words neither and nor are used to indicate that the speaker will not select either course of action, as in  

  • "Neither singing nor dancing is your strong point."

How to Use Either, Neither, Or, and Nor 

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There are five standard uses for these frequent English terms, as we described below:

  1. Adverb

Both either and neither serve as linking words when these words function as adverbs. For instance:

  • "Neither Jenny nor Jane visited the park ".

  • Christine does nothing like Henry and Josie either".

  1. Adjective

You may also use either or neither as an adjective. For instance:

  • "Either side of the street."

To explain both equal sides of the road, "either" is utilized as a possible adjective.

  1. Conjunction

When the terms or and nor are used with either and neither, they constitute correlative conjunctions

  • "You can either message me or call me". 

  • "Neither Klaus nor his family talks about the possibility of moving."

Pairing either/or creates a choice between two options. For instance: 

When two or more things are untrue or will not occur, the words neither/ nor are used jointly. For instance: 

  1. Pronoun

The next phrase construction relates to situations where either or neither becomes pronouns.

Neither suggests "not one or the other" when they serve as pronouns, whereas either denotes "one or the other."

  • "To get to Rome, you may use either of the paths".

  • "Neither of my legs was stable after the running".
  1. Determiners

Neither and Either are sometimes used as determiners. In this context, the word "either" denotes a decision between two options. For instance:

  • "Either your brother can come in function".

Neither permits us to simultaneously comment negatively about two different items or individuals when employed as a determiner. For instance:

  • "Neither my brother are welcomed to my college trip".

Correct use of Either/ Or

When either is combined with or, a correlative conjunction must be used. Some correlative means are simply related.

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When comparing two ideas, either is used, and only one of the concepts will be implemented. It expresses possibilities. Example:

  • "Either you begin afraid, or you're camping on your own".

Use "either" and "or" looking at two ideas and just one will happen to fruition.

Correct use of Neither/ Nor

Neither shows that the two notions are related. Both ideas are untrue or will not come true. It's similar to a negative conjunction.

If you use neither, be sure your statement does not contain any additional negatives. If you want to utilize a no, you can do so with either. Consider the following two phrases, both of which are correct:

  • Jay had spotted neither the snake nor the wasp's nest on the next tree, and he was about to stake his tarp in that risky situation.

  • Jay hadn't spotted either the snake or the wasp's nest in the next tree, and he was about to stake his tarp in that risky situation.

If you wish to connect two untrue or improbable thoughts, use the words "neither" and "nor."

Use Either/Or and Neither/Nor With Confidence

Each time they are essential, you may use neither/ nor or "either/ or". Just keep this little tip in mind:

  • Because "either" and "or" both begin with vowels, they are identical.

  • And because "neither" and "nor" both begin with "n," they go together as well. 

  • With these examples and that memory technique, you should never encounter a stray "nor" again.

Some Additional Guidelines for "Either... Or" and "Neither... Nor"

When using these forms, determining verb agreement might be difficult. Here's what you should know:

Use a single verb if the two components are singular

If both of the choices are singular, use a single verb, such as this:

  • Either Caroline or Elena has hidden the sweets.

  • Neither the Jeep nor the tempo is fast enough.

Use a plural verb if one (or both) of the components are Plural.

If both of the choices are Plural, use a plural verb, such as this:

  • Either the girls or the boys have hidden the sweets.

  • Neither the Jeep nor the tempos are fast enough.


Learning to utilize either, or, neither, and nor correctly, like many other aspects of English grammar, can be challenging. You can use this page as a reference and come back to it anytime you need to. Putting every new grammar, you learn into practice via speech is critical. Hundreds of teachers are available, and many specialize in certain aspects of English, so do your homework and choose the ideal tutor for you.

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