Either

'Either' has many functions in the English grammar such as being a determiner. In this lesson, we will discover all about this commonly used word.

How to use "either" in English Grammar

Either is a commonly used word and has four functions that we are going to learn in this lesson.

1. 'Either' as a Determiner

Use

Either as a determiner is used to indicate one and the other or one or the other of two people/things. It is used with singular nouns. Look:

  • Either as a determiner comes before a noun to show 'each of two, one and the other of two people or things.' Look:

Either flower is beautiful.

Both flowers are beautiful.

There are two pens. I don't like either pen.

I don't like none of those two pens.

  • Either indicates 'one or the other of two people or things.' For example:

On either side, you can work hard.

There are two questions. Either question is correct.

Position in a Sentence

Either as a determiner heads a singular noun and requires a singular verb. For example:

On either side, you can work hard.

There are two questions. Either question is correct.

2. 'Either' as a Pronoun

Use

Either as a pronoun replaces the noun it refers to and means 'one or the other or one and the other.' Look:

Either (of the two answers) is correct.

Both answers are correct.

You can have either of those books.

Position in a Sentence

Either as a pronoun is used as a subject or object. The verb must be singular is either is the subject. Look:

Either of them sounds ok.

You can have either of those books.

Tip

If either is followed by 'of', we can use plural verbs in informal English as well. Either as a pronoun is used with 'of' and a plural noun or pronoun. Look:

Either of them is/are ok.

3. 'Either' as a Correlative Conjunction

Use

Either as a correlative conjunction is used with 'or' to connect two phrases. It is used to indicate choices or possibilities, take a look:

You can either do it or leave it.

It can either be black or blue.

Position in a Sentence

If either and or are used to link two subjects in a sentence, the verb should agree with the closer subject. For example:

Either my brothers or your sister is here.

Either you or I am right.

4. 'Either' as an Adverb

Use

Either as an adverb is used to add more information to the sentence. Either as an adverb means 'in addition' and it is used after a negative statement, look:

The cars are expensive and are not of a high quality either.

This adaptation is awful. I don't like the book either.

me either

'Me either' is used in informal U.S. English to say that you agree with a negative sentence. For example:

A : I did not like the restaurant.

B : Me either.

Position in a Sentence

Either as an adverb modifies a verb and stands after it. If the sentence starts with 'either', an inversion is required. For example: Take a look:

This adaptation is awful. I don't like the book either.

'Either' modifies the verb and adds more meaning to it.

_ They don't work so hard. _Me either.

In this case, the full sentence is 'I don't work so hard either. It is shortened to 'me either.'

_ I don't feel comfortable here. _ Either don't I.

An inversion of subject and the negative auxiliary verb is made here.

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