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Both, either, neither – Grammar chart

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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 them did very well in the exam. blank
  • Both of them did very well in the exam. blank
  • 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.  

Remember this!

Use either and neither with 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’t come. blank
  • Neither John nor Paula can comeblank

We also use the word both with positive verbs. We can only use either with negative verbs.

  • I didn’t like both/neither of the pictures. blank
  • I didn’t like either of the pictures. blank