How to use either.

“Either” is pretty easy to use, but there are some special examples to look out for. 

How to use Either

Let’s start with the basics. 

1. either + or = one of two choices (NOT both)
(conjunction)

• 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
(adverb)

• 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
(determiner)

• 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.

TAKE CARE  
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. 

Like this entry? Have questions or want to talk? Leave a comment or get in touch any time. 

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