Each vs. Either

Actually, either and each are misused a lot. Let us get to know them and clarify their differences.

"Each" vs. "Either" in the English Grammar

What Are Their Main Differences?

'Either' refers to a choice between the two in the group of two options. 'Each', on the other hand, refers to individuals in a group of two or more options.


Using 'Or' after Conjunctions

  • 'Either':

In fact, to be clear we have to say that since 'either' can be conjunction as a result it can be followed by the term 'or.'

Either my sister or my brother do not get along well with each other.

Either the doll or the flowers will make her happy on her birthday.

Since, it is not conjunction, the term 'or' does not follow 'each.'

You either sleep or eat in your free time what is the point of using the word busy in your account's bio. (Not " You each sleep or eat in your free time what is the point of using the word busy in your account's bio.")

Choose either the black one or the blue one they suit you the most! (Not " Choose each the black one or the blue one they suit you the most!")

Negative Sentences

  • 'Either':

can be used in both negative and affirmative sentences. Mostly, it is used in negative sentences. Usually, when we use the term 'either,' we are talking about two possibilities or two options.

Either of them was standing in line to get their bonus.

I didn't call either of my friends.

  • 'Each':

cannot be used in negative sentences and as a result, we have to have an alternative with the same meaning as 'each' in negative sentences. The alternative term for 'each' in negative sentences is the word 'either.'

Either school is not good enough. (Not "Each school is not good enough .")

He didn't get to see either of his sisters. (Not "He didn't get to see each of his sisters.")

What They Mean

  • 'Each'

We usually use 'each' when we want to refer to individuals as a whole group. Actually, when we use 'each' we want to say that the listener has to think about all the members of a group individually.

They have traveled to each angle of the world.

Gianni said no to each of the dresses we have chose for her.

  • 'Either'

When we use the term 'either', there is usually a situation in which we are supposed to choose between two things. But it is not always like this. The important thing to know is that we use 'either' when we want to talk about two 'things' or 'people' not more. So, it is ok to use the term 'each' instead of the term 'either' but it is not always correct to use the term 'either' instead of the term 'each.'

It did not make either of us happy.

There is basketball and volleyball you can choose either one.


How Verbs Agree With the Nouns after 'Each' and 'Either'

  • 'Either' and each:

both are followed by singular nouns after them, and as a result, it is obvious that the verb used with them is a singular verb.

Either sushi or pizza is good to order.

Each baby cries immediately after birth.

Each house is suitable for them 'cause there is only two of them.

Either dress looks great on the bride.

'Either of' and 'Each of'

  • 'Either of' and 'each of':

The words 'each' and 'either' cannot be followed by a plural noun or a plural pronoun immediately. As a result, to use a plural noun after them we have to add a determiner before the plural noun. But remember sometimes a singular noun is used after each and either linked by a determiner. But the point is that we have to use the word 'of' before determiner. The general structure is:
[each of/either of + noun phrase(determiner + noun)],or [each of/either of + pronouns].

Either of us knows the problem.

Each of our houses is big and luxuriously designed.

Grammatical Functions

  • 'Either' and 'each':
  1. As determiners
  2. As pronouns
  3. As adverbs

As you might know, determiners are used before nouns to modify them. 'Each' and 'either' are used before singular nouns as determiners. As pronouns, we are not allowed to use a noun immediately after them. Adverbs are used to modify adjectives and other adverbs. 'Each' and 'either' follow these rules as adverbs.

We divided each group into two categories. → determiner

Either of them was waiting for their turn to get a shot. → pronoun

'Either One' and 'Each One'

'Either' and 'each' as determiners are followed by 'singular nouns,' the term one can replace the 'singular noun' used after 'each' and 'either,' but it has to be clear what we are referring to. So, mostly it is used when we have just mentioned the noun in previous statements. Check out the examples for more clarification.

She had five sons, each one had their own personality.

They introduced two teachers, and I didn't like either one.

As Distributive Adjectives

'Each' and 'either' are both considered distributive adjectives. Now, a question might be raised. What are *distributive adjectives? Distributive adjectives are those that are used to separate things. They help us to think about a group as individuals. Distributive adjectives are: ['each,' 'every,' 'either,' and 'neither'].

The hens had laid two eggs, each.

Either of the students can choose their favorite course to study.


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