Distributive Pronouns

Distributive pronouns refer to nouns separately rather than collectively in a group. In this lesson, we will learn all about them.

What Are Distributive Pronouns?

What Are Distributive Pronouns?

Distributive pronouns are a type of pronoun that refers to individuals or things in a group. They are used to describe actions or properties that apply to each member of a group individually, rather than collectively.

English Distributive Pronouns

There are three distributive pronouns in English:

  • neither
  • either
  • each

Neither

'Neither' is used to refer to two people, things, or options, indicating that none of them are applicable or desirable. It is often used in negative constructions, where both options or people are being rejected. Here are a few examples:

Of course both of them saw the thief but neither would make a statement.

Neither was my favorite, but I chose the yellow one.

How to Use Neither

Neither is a pronoun that implies a negative meaning. Thus, it is used with an affirmative verb; however, the meaning of the sentence remains negative. Keep in mind that when 'neither' is used as the subject pronoun of the sentence, the verb that follows it must be singular. Check out the examples:

Neither is a qualified cook.

Among these teams, neither wins in my view.

"neither" as a subject pronoun

Either

'Either' is another distributive pronoun that is used to refer to two options or alternatives, indicating that one or the other is applicable or desirable. It is often used in affirmative constructions, where a choice is being presented. Here are the examples:

There are two kinds of meat. You can take either.

Either of these books would be a good choice for your book club.

How to Use Either

Either is used with both negative and affirmative verbs with the same meaning. Keep in mind that it is used with singular verbs only when it is used as the subject pronoun of the sentence. Pay attention to the examples:

I need a warm bath or hanging out with my friends. Either works for me.

I have never had Gucci or Dolce, but I think either is fine.

Each

'Each' is used to refer to two or more people or things, indicating that an action or property applies to them individually. It is often used to emphasize the individuality of each person or thing in a group. Here are a few examples:

We each took a sandwich.

The students were asked to write a short essay on each topic.

How to Use Each

Each can be used with either a singular or a plural verb based on the pronoun or noun it refers to. Furthermore, it can be used with both affirmative and negative verbs.

They each have their own reasons not to talk with each other.

Each student did not receive a trophy.

Appositive Each

'Each' can be used after pronouns or nouns to emphasize the individuality of each member of a group. In such cases, the verb usually agrees with the plurality of the noun or pronoun. It's important to note that appositives, including 'each', can be omitted from a sentence without changing its meaning. However, 'each' still functions as a pronoun when used as an appositive. Pay attention to the examples:

They each tried their best to win.

The kids each had a toy to play with.

Review

Distributive pronouns are used to refer to each individual member of a group of two people or things or more. Here are the distributive pronouns.

  • either
  • neither
  • each

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