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As a conjunction, either and neither join two nouns using either … or…or neither … nor. Either grammatically connects two words, phrases, or clauses together. It comes before two possible alternatives which are separated by or, usually 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 underwater creature was either a fish or some unknown creature.
  • Relatives of the dying patient will decide soon either burial or cremation..
  • We'll have a drinking session either this week or next.
  • She has a nice shape as is neither fat nor skinny.
  • Our cat chases neither rats nor mice.
  • He neither smiled at nor bowed to the people applauding 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 may 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 a lie. 
  • 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 his 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.