How to use either.
“Either” is pretty easy to use, but there are some special examples to look out for.
Let’s start with the basics.
1. either + or = one of two choices (NOT both)
• Your order comes with either soup or salad.
• The movie starts at either six or seven. I don’t remember.
• We’ll finish the project on either Thursday or Friday.
• A: Do you want coffee or tea?
B: Either (coffee or tea) is fine.
2. either = links with a similar, usually negative, idea
• Charlie’s not a bad singer, but he’s not great either.
• A: There’s no milk in the fridge.
B: We don’t have any eggs either.
• A: I don’t like this movie at all.
B: I don’t either.
(For more on negative agreement, see here.)
3. either + of = one or the other of two people or things
• Maggie, Ben? If either of you is free, I need a little help.
• Don’t tell either of my roommates, but I’m going to move out.
• One of your parents has to sign this paper. Either of them is fine.
either = both
(determiner) (notice the plural “s” with both)
• There are farms on either side of the road.
• There are farms on both sides of the road.
• There is a goal on either end of the court.
• There are goals on both ends of the court.
This is a common expression, but it can be confusing to some readers. Some writing guides suggest avoiding it.
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