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Are these right? Can the word either be put in either place?

David will either write or have written.

David either will write or have written.

......

What about when mixing a gerund and a participle? Is this one acceptable?

She likes either swimming or to study.

......

Are these the same thing?

I either drunk coffee or tea.

I drunk either coffee or tea.

..........................

Also, is this the correct way to conjugate the verb?

Either plural or plural the verb is plural ⇒ Either trucks or cars are here.

Either singular or plural the verb is plural ⇒ Either a truck or cars **are here*.

Either plural or singular the verb is singular ⇒ Either trucks or a car **is here*.

Either singular or singular the verb is singular ⇒ Either a truck or a car **is here*.

Are those assumptions correct in both informal and formal English?

I've inquired at sites like this one and looked at some dictionaries for guidance, but I am still confused.

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My main comment at first would be that the verb form on each side of "or" should match. So in the first pair

David will either write or have written.

is OK. The next one it should be

David either will write or will have written.

Next sentence:

She likes either swimming or studying.

or

She likes either to swim or to study.

In the next pair, the correct verb is drank.

I drank either coffee or tea.

but

I either drunk coffee or tea.

is wrong because the options attached to either are the coffee and tea, not two actions like drank or xx. But you could say

I either drank coffee or ate cake.

basically its that you either drank or ate.

Usage of either in the other sentences except this last one seems OK, since that is your main question. You just have to be careful either is referring to choices of nouns or verbs.

Sorry as for the last section I am not sure what you are asking. Could you add an example for each case?

  • And, would you please correct me about the last question? – nima Apr 20 '14 at 7:22
  • @nima_persian As for the last section, if you want I can add to my answer but one point is that singular nouns require an article such as "a" or "the". The first and fourth sentences are correct. As for the other two I don't know the official rule, but I would tend to say "are" for both. In any case they sound strange and I wonder what actual usage of these forms might be. – user3169 Apr 20 '14 at 7:29
  • I have just eddited and correct them – nima Apr 20 '14 at 8:51
  • Yes. I wonder those rules and what you use as formal or informal. – nima Apr 20 '14 at 8:52
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Short answers:

David will either write or has written a book. - YES

David either will write or has written a book. - NO

She likes either swimming or to study. - NO

She likes either swimming or studying. - YES

She likes either to swim or to study. - YES

I either drank coffee or tea. - YES

I drank either coffee or tea. - YES

There are either books or cars here. - YES

There is either a book or cars here. - YES

There are either books or a car here. - YES

Either a book or a car is here. - YES


Long answers:

David will either write or have written.

David either will write or have written.

These sentences sound very odd to my ear. Firstly, "write" is usually a transitive verb, so you need an object. Second, "will either write or have written" seems grammatically incorrect. I would change it to "will either write or HAS written". "David will either write or has written a programming book." Finally, "David either will write or has written a book." does not sound correct to my ear.

She likes either swimming or to study.

This one sounds wrong. I would change it so that you use the same construction for both sides of "or". The correct grammar would be "She likes either swimming or studying." or "She likes either to swim or to study." Both sentences sound a little illogical to me though. Maybe this would be better said in a different way: "She likes both swimming and studying." or "She wants to either swim or study right now, not do chores."

I either drunk coffee or tea.

I drunk either coffee or tea.

"Drunk" is a gerund. You need to change this to present or past tense. "I either drank coffee or tea." Either sentence is acceptable. They are interchangeable and almost identical. They just place the emphasis in a slightly different spot for each one.

Either books or cars are here.

Either the book or cars are here.

Either books or the car is here.

Either book or car is here.

These constructions seem grammatically correct, but they do not sound good to me. I would instead use the more common "There is/are" construction. In either case, you can indeed mix singular and plural. Just make sure to conjugate "to be" correctly. "Either books or the car ARE here."

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