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1) "She loves either me or John”
2) "She either loves me or John"

Are these two sentences interchangeable, or do I have to use the structure in "She either loves me or John" only in the sentences like "She either loves me or hates me"?

1 Answer 1

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Functionally, in your simple example, they are the same. However, there is a structural difference that may not be apparent.

If parsed and expanded, they become:

  1. She loves either me or John.
    She loves (me) or (John).
    She loves me or she loves John.
  2. She either loves me or John.
    She (loves me) or (loves John).
    She loves me or she loves John.

Everything is fine. You can use either construction for this sentence.


But consider what happens if she hates John.

Looking at the first construction:

  1. She loves either me or hates John.
    She loves (me) or (hates John).
    She loves me or she loves hates John.

This is ungrammatical because hates John is not a meaningful object to which the verb love can apply.

However, the second construction still works:

  1. She either loves me or hates John.
    She (loves me) or (hates John).
    She loves me or she hates John.

So, you have to be careful with where you place either in more complex sentences. Be sure that what comes after either is the same type of thing as what comes after or—and that both function as a phrase with what comes before either.

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