GrammarPhile Blog

Either is, Neither is: rules are rules

Posted by Phil Jamieson   May 29, 2013 5:34:00 AM

Today's post is short but to the point. This is one that often trips up many of our subscribers.
mango ice create and key lime pieEither and neither are versatile words. Each can serve as a pronoun, an adjective, a conjunction, and an adverb. Know another word that can be any of four parts of speech?

When either or neither is used as a pronoun, confusion sometimes arises as to what form of verb should follow. The rule: always use the singular form of the verb in phrases and clauses that begin with either of and neither of, regardless of the number of the noun that follows.

  • When it came to choosing between mango ice cream and Key lime pie, it was a win-win situation. Either of them is delicious! (The single verb form is is required here.)

  • But when it came to voting in the recent election, I held my nose and pulled the lever. Neither of the candidates has any experience at running a water ski club, so what does it matter? (The singular verb form hasis required here.)


Topics: either, neither, pronoun, either as a pronoun, neither as a pronoun

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