both, either, neither – grammar chart
We use both, either and neither to talk about two things or people.
both= A and B (the two things or people)
either= A or B (one thing/person or the other thing/person)
neither= not A and not B (zero out of two things or people)
both / either / neither + noun
We can use both/either/neither + noun
- I like both cars.
- You can park on either side of the street.
- Neither parent was at the meeting.
Note that we use both + plural noun and either/neither + singular noun.
both (of) / either of / neither of
We can use both (of) / either of / neither of + the/these/my/her/Peter’s/etc. + noun
- Both (of) your parents are really nice.
- Either of those two dates is perfect for the wedding. (=We can choose one or the other)
- Neither of the tennis players had a great game.
Note that we don’t need of after both.
- Both of your parents are really nice. = Both your parents are really nice.
We can use both of / either of / neither of + us/you/them
- Both of them did very well in the exam. (NOT
- Can either of you give me a coin for the vending machine?
- Neither of us knows the truth.
both / either / neither (without a noun)
We can use both/either/neither alone, without a noun.
- A: Do you speak French or Spanish? B: I speak both.
- A: Do you want tea or coffee? B: Either. I don’t mind.
- A: Which car do you prefer? B: Neither. I think both of them are horrible.
both … and …/ either … or … / neither … nor …
We can say both … and …/ either … or … / neither … nor … to mention the two things or people that we are talking about.
- She ate both the rice and the meat.
- Both Susan and Peter helped me with my report.
- You need to speak one foreign language, either Spanish or French.
- You can either wait here or go home.
- I like neither maths nor physics.
- He neither called nor texted.
Use either and neither a singular verb.
- Either candidate is good.
- Neither of the candidates is good.
(not) either= neither.
- I don’t like either of the options. = I like neither of the options.
The word neither is negative, so we use it with positive verbs.
- Neither John nor Paula can come. (NOT
Neither … can’t come.)
We also use the word both with positive verbs. We can only use either with negative verbs.
- I didn’t like either of the pictures. (NOT
I didn’t like both/neither of the pictures.)