Either comes before two possible alternatives which are separated by or, with no other possible alternatives. Neither is used to state two states or actions that are negative or not possible, and they are separated by nor.

Examples:

  • That leaping creature was either a frog or some unknown creature.
  • The dying patient will decide soon either to be buried or cremated.
  • We'll have a drinking session either this week or next.
  • We think she is neither fat nor skinny.
  • Our cat chases neither rats nor mice.
  • He neither smiled nor waved at the people watching his magic tricks.

 

Either or neither can be used at the beginning of a sentence.

Examples:

  • Either we leave for the airport now or we will miss the flight.
  • Neither her father nor her mother will help her with her homework.

 

Where two subjects are joined by either … or /neither … nor the verb agrees with the subject that is closer to it.

Examples:

  • Either you come early or he goes without you.
  • Either he or you are telling the truth.
  • I believe neither Heaven nor Hell exists.
  • Neither the gorilla nor the chimpanzee has a tail.
  • Neither my sister nor I am going to wash my father's car.

 

Neither is often used in a clause to follow a negative statement. In the clause, neither is placed at the beginning. 

Examples:

  • “I don’t believe your grandmother story.” “Neither do I.”
  • He will never say anything to annoy her, and neither will I.
  • Both were late. The teacher didn’t believe his excuses for being late, and neither did the teacher believe hers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

As a conjunction, either comes before two or sometimes more possible alternatives which are separated by or.

  • That jumping creature is either a frog or a toad.
  • He will decide soon either to be buried or cremated after he died.

 

As a conjunction, neither is used to state two states or actions that are negative or not possible, and they are separated by nor.

  • He can neither hear nor speak.
  • We think she has the right weight, as she is neither fat nor skinny.

 

We can have a sentence with either or neither at the beginning.

  • Either we leave for the airport now orwe will miss the flight.
  • Neither her father nor her mother will help her with her homework.

 

Two nouns that are singular and are joined by either … or…or neither … nor, take a singular verb.

  • I believe neither Heaven nor Hell exists.
  • Neither the gorilla nor the chimpanzee has a tail.

 

When two subjects are different in number, and are joined by or or nor, the verb that follows agrees with the subject nearest or next to it.

  • Either he or you are telling the truth.
  • Either you or he is telling the truth.
  • Neither he nor you are telling the truth.
  • Neither you nor he is telling the truth.
  • Either you or I am going.
  • Neither you nor I am going.