Suppose we have a sentence like this:

My only options are to either do X or do Y.

How do I convert this to a question? If I follow the "standard rule", the question becomes:

Are my only options to either do X or do Y?

But this just doesn't sound right to me. I could be totally wrong but I feel like something is missing between "my only options" and "to..."; like a linking verb or something.

Is the question above grammatically correct? And is it the right way to say what I'm trying to say or is there a better form?

1 Answer 1


The sentence you gave as an answer, "Are my only options to either do X or do Y?" is correct based on the example given. However, it is more natural to put "to do" together (also following the "rule" of not splitting infinitives, which might be argued as artificial). Also, "do" is repeated, and is either unneeded or should be done with "to", as shown below.

The given sentence should have been,

My only options are to do either X or Y.


My only options are either to do X or to do Y.

Making it a question would produce:

Are my only options to do either X or Y?


Are my only options either to do X or to do Y?
  • do X and do Y are just placeholders and the two occurrences of "do" are actually two different verbs (sorry if this wasn't clear). Otherwise, I would've used "do either X or Y" as you suggested. Why do I have to repeat "to" though?
    – ICloneable
    Oct 29, 2020 at 3:13
  • because you repeated "do". The word "to" is not a preposition, here, but part of the infinitive form, e.g. "to be", "to run" "to do". They're very much attached, inseparable, really. Oct 29, 2020 at 3:17
  • Oh, I see. I didn't know this. I always thought that sentences like "to either buy this or rent it" were correct.
    – ICloneable
    Oct 29, 2020 at 3:24
  • 1
    Nope, you've got to clone "to" in the English interface ;-) Oct 29, 2020 at 3:26

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