Both, Either, Neither

Hi English learners. Welcome to a new lesson. We will talk about both, either and neither.

These three words have one thing in common. We use them to talk about two people or things.

  • Both brothers had brown hair. (Two brothers)
  • Either of the runners could win the race. (any of the two runners)
  • Love can be neither bought nor sold.

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We use both with plural nouns when referring to two people or things together.

  • Sara held the rope with both hands.
  • I wish you both a happy and prosperous life.
  • Both their daughters were huge animal lovers.
Both of + object pronoun

When both is part of a subject or object, it is normally followed by of + object pronoun:

  • Both of them were excellent swimmers.
  • They invited both of us to the party.

We use the correlative conjunction both…and… to join two things of equal importance.

  • They grow both wheat and soy on their farm.
  • Italy has frontiers with both Switzerland and France.
  • Holidays in this resort are both cheap and enjoyable.


We use either with singular countable nouns to talk about two options. Here, either means any of the two.

  • You can take either road to get to the village.
  • Either raincoat will be alright.
  • You can park on either side of the street.
Either of

Either is followed by of if it goes before the, these, those or possessives with a plural noun.

  • Either of the dictionaries is good.
  • You can prove the rule by using either of these methods.
  • There is no simple answer to either of your questions.

We can use either…or… to connect two options:

  • People working in the factory were either divorced or separated from their partners.
  • She is the kind of person you either love or hate.
  • Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all. (Helen Keller)


We use neither with singular countable nouns to make a negative statement about two things or people.

  • Neither suit fitted him.
  • If you watch two things at the same time, you will see neither.
  • Monica didn’t like horror films, and neither did her husband.
Neither… nor

We use correlative conjunction neither..nor… to connect two negative options.

  • Neither Nate nor Martin could ride a bicycle.
  • Mark could speak neither Japanese nor Chinese.
  • Sandra was neither surprised nor confused when she heard the news.

Neither of + object  can be used with both singular and plural verbs:

  • Neither of my sisters has  (have) blond hair.
  • Neither of us enjoy (enjoys) swimming.

Check out the lesson about correlative conjunctions here.

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Both, either, neither
Both, either, neither

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