What Are Their Main Differences?
'Either' and 'neither' are different when it comes to their meanings. Although they can have different grammatical functions, they may have some similarities too.
What Either and Neither Mean in a Sentence
has different grammatical functions, so it is natural for it to have different meanings. But technically it means one of the two. Generally, either is defined as 'both' or 'one.'
has different grammatical functions as well, so it has different meanings like 'either' does. It means none of the two. In general, 'neither' is defined as 'none' or 'not either.'
Neither and Either as Determiners
is used as a determiner before a singular countable noun with an affirmative verb to refer to something which agrees with both options being mentioned. 'Neither' is a negative marker and it can make a sentence negative on its own, therefore it does not need a negative verb.
is used as a determiner before a singular countable noun with a negative or affirmative verb, to talk about two choices. In this case, 'either' is distributive.
What Are Distributives?
'Distributives' are determiners that are used to indicate how something is shared out or divided.
The distributives are 'each', 'every', 'either', and 'neither'. They are used with a singular noun and as a result, they require a singular verb.
Neither and Either as Pronouns
is used as a pronoun with an affirmative verb to mean not one and not the other. It is good to know that whenever we are using 'neither' as a pronoun no noun follows it, so it is directly followed by a verb.
There were two of them, but
is used as a pronoun with both negative and affirmative verbs to mean a choice of one or the other. As you know, it is not followed by a noun. In this function, 'either' is used to refer to people, things, or situations that are both possible, so as a result, it does not matter which.
"Which one, the long one or the short one?" "
Neither and Either as Adverbs
He didn't like chips,
is combined with a positive/affirmative verb and it comes before an auxiliary to mean 'too.' The structure is [neither + auxiliary verb + subject]. Sometimes there is a tendency to use plural verbs because of the nouns that were mentioned earlier, but using a singular verb with it is more common.
He didn't like the pizza,
Neither as an Adverb with Affirmative Verbs
To agree with verbs such as hate, dislike, etc, we are not allowed to use the term 'neither'. Because, although they imply a negative meaning, they are still formed as a positive verb.
"He hates sushi." "
is combined with a negative verb and comes last in the sentence and it means 'too.' The structure is [subject + auxiliary verb + either]. Remember using a singular verb is more common even if we are talking about a plural noun. In this case, you put 'either' at the end of the second statement to emphasize that there is a connection between the two clauses which is correct for both.
Kelvin wasn't helping, I was
Sara didn't like the pizza, I did
Their Position as an Adverb
As you might have noticed in the examples, 'either' comes last to mean 'too' and 'neither' comes first to mean 'too.'
"I don't like the smell of this room. It smells like socks." "
"I don't think this is a good idea." "I don't
'Me neither' is an expression that means exactly the same as 'nor do I' and 'neither do I'. The difference relies on the situation you are talking about. Some believe that it is a matter of region, and based on where you are living 'me neither' would sound either formal or informal, for example they say 'me neither' is used in UK and Australia a lot. However, some agree that using 'me neither' is technically wrong.
I didn't go to her birthday party. "Me
Me Neither, Neither Do I, or Nor Do I?
"I don't like worms." "
Me Either or I don't Either?
'Me either' is considered informal as well as 'me neither', since 'I don't either' is considered formal. But are 'me either' and 'I don't either' the same? Here is the thing, 'me either' is used to confirm a positive sentence and 'I don't either' is used to confirm a negative sentence.
"I hate Suzy." "
I don't either.)
"I do not drink wine." "
Neither and Either as Conjunctions
can be used as a conjunction, and as conjunctions do it connects two clauses that both, are not true or will not happen. The thing in this function is that 'neither' is followed by 'nor' to give two options. 'Neither' is used before the first item and other items would follow 'nor' instead.
can be used as a conjunction used to connect two clauses. It is important to know that 'either' is followed by the term 'or' in this case. The point is to use 'either' before the first option and others should follow 'or.' Remember in this function, 'either' can refer to individuals or both the alternatives.
His girlfriend could
Here are the differences in the table:
|either /iːðər/||Used to mean a choice of one or the other followed by a singular noun||Used to mean a choice of one or the other||
At the end of the sentence/With a
|neither/niːðər/||Used to mean not one and not the other followed by a singular noun||Used to mean not one and not the other||
At the beginning of a sentence/with a
Using Singular or Plural Verbs
In standard English, 'neither' and 'either' are both followed by singular verbs; however, we can use them with plural verbs in spoken English. So there is always a tendency to use them with plural verbs, but it is not that common
were going crazy over a ball.")
- 'Neither' and 'either' can be:
Neither and Either with Plural Countable Nouns
We use 'neither of' and 'either of' when it is followed by pronouns and plural countable nouns which have determiners (my, his, the, these, those) before them. To be more clear it is said neither of and either of are used before pronouns and noun phrases.
'Either' can be pronounced /ˈʌɪðə,ˈiːðə/.
'Neither' can be pronounced /ˈnʌɪðə,ˈniːðə/. Keep in mind that the pronunciation with /i/ is more common in spoken everyday American English.
How They Can Be The Same in Their Meanings
We can use 'neither' and 'either' when we want to add another negative fact or idea to a conversation. 'Neither' and 'either' both can be used as a negative form of 'too.'
"She doesn't cook for tonight." "Neither does the chef." or "The chef doesn't
My sister is not married.