Neither

'Neither' has many functions in the English grammar such as being a pronoun. In this lesson, we will discover all about this commonly used word.

How to Use "neither" in the English Grammar

Neither is a tricky word in the English grammar and that is the reason why we are going to learn all of its uses in this lesson.

1. 'Neither' as a Determiner

Use

Neither as a determiner modifies a singular noun and it means 'not one or the other of two people or things.' For example:

Neither book is mine.

None of the books are mine.

I know neither girl.

neither girls

Position in a Sentence

Neither as a determiner is used before singular nouns. It can act as a subject or an object. For example:

I know neither girl.

object

Neither book is mine.

2. 'Neither' as a Pronoun

Use

Neither as a pronoun and replaces the noun it refers to. It means 'not the one and not the other of two people or things.' For example:

Neither is correct

I know neither.

Position in a Sentence

Neither as a pronoun is used with singular verbs if it acts as the subject. Moreover, it requires a positive verb since it is negative itself and makes a negative connotation. Take a look:

I know neither.

Neither is correct

The verb is singular.

Tip

Neither as a pronoun can be used with 'of' and is followed by a plural noun or pronoun in informal English. It usually takes singular verbs; however, it can take plural verbs in informal English.

Neither of them is/are here.

I know neither of the two answers.

3. 'Neither' as a Correlative Conjunction

Use

Neither as a correlative conjunction is used with 'nor' to show 'two or more people or things, about which something is not true.' It heads a phrase to connect it with another one. For example:

I neither know her nor I love her.

This is neither blue nor white.

Neither I nor my father is doctor.

Position in a Sentence

If neither and nor act as two subjects, the verb should agree with the second subject, for example:

Neither I nor my father is doctor.

The second subject is 'my father' that requires the singular verb 'is.'

4. 'Neither' as an Adverb

Use

Neither as an adverb adds more information to the verb and it means 'also not.' For example:

A : I don't like eggs.

B : Me neither.

_ I didn't use to work there. _ Neither did I./ Me neither.

Position in a Sentence

Neither as an adverb is used in conversations as a reaction to a negative statement. If the sentence starts with 'neither', an inversion is required. For example:

_ I didn't use to work there. _ Neither did I.

The inversion is when the auxiliary/modal verb and the subject change the place. Here, we use the auxiliary verb 'do' in the affirmative past tense.

_ I don't leave her alone. _ Neither do I.

Notice the verb with 'neither' is positive.

_ I don't leave her alone. _ I do neither.

Here, we don't need inversions.

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