What is the difference between neither and either, and how are they used? — Dexs, Philippines
Either and neither can be used in a few different ways, and to mean a few different things. In most cases, neither means "not either."
When used as an adjective either means "one or the other of two people or things," and neither means "not one or the other of two people or things." In other words, neither means "not either." The following example sentences show this use.
You may borrow either book. [=you may borrow one or the other of the two books]
You may borrow neither book. [=you may not borrow one and you may not borrow the other of the two books; you may not borrow either book]
When used as a pronoun either means "the one or the other." Neither means "not the one and not the other" or "not either." The following example sentences show this use.
You may wear either of the dresses to the party. [=you may wear the one dress or you may wear the other dress]
You may wear neither of the dresses to the party. [=you may not wear the one dress, and you may not wear the other dress; you may not wear either dress]
When used as a conjunctioneither is used with or to indicate choices or possibilities. Neither is used with nor to indicate two or more people, things, actions, etc., about which something is not true. The following example sentences show this use.
I will eat either chicken or fish tonight. [=I will choose one of the two options]
I will eat neither chicken nor fish tonight. [=I will not eat chicken and I will not eat fish; I will not choose either of these two foods]
When used as an adverbeither means "in addition" and is used after a negative statement. The following example sentences show this use.
The books are lightweight, and they are not expensive either. [=they are lightweight, and in addition to that they are not expensive]
The house is in a nice neighborhood and is not too small either. [=it is not too small in addition to being in a nice neighborhood.]
In informal speech either and neither are used in the phrase me either or me neither to say that you agree with a negative statement someone has made. These two phrases mean exactly the same thing. The following example sentences show this use.
"I don't like this outfit." "Me either." [=I also don’t like this outfit]
"I wasn't happy with the way the movie ended." "Me neither." [=I also wasn't happy with the way the movie ended]