Either / Or versus Neither / Nor

Often, people confuse either and neither. Since these are connected to or and nor, I decided to include these with this post, as well.

My husband and I had a recent conversation where this came up. The simplest way to put this is that either is always used with or and neither with nor.

Either / or is used when you are saying it can be either this or that. The Cambridge dictionary says it’s used to connect two choices.

Neither / Nor is used for the negative, to indicate it is neither here nor there. Cambridge dictionary says it’s used when making a negative statement about two things/people at the same time: “We use it to say ‘not either’ in relation to two things.

“Two common sentence constructions we use in the English language are neither/nor and either/or.

Both of these phrases are correlative conjunctions: pairs of conjunctions that connect words or phrases within a sentence.”

EITHER… OR | NEITHER… NOR in English – Grammar lesson

“Grammar Guru Tip #22
Think of “nor” as “or” for negative sentences, and it’s not optional. Use “nor” before the second or farther of two alternatives when “neither” introduces the first.

Neither my mother nor I understand these directions.

Pro tip: You can also use “nor” with a negative first clause or a sentence including “not.”

She didn’t know where to go, nor did I.”


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