25

I pronounce 'ei' in 'either' like in German (so, like 'I' in English: /aɪ/). This is natural for me.

But I've heard people pronouncing it as 'eee' (/iː/), so which version is correct? Or maybe both are correct?

3
  • 16
    How is it possible that no one has answered this question with the word "either"? Feb 14 '13 at 0:50
  • 1
    @J.T.Grimes. I just came here to do that.
    – TRiG
    Feb 18 '13 at 1:28
  • Either. (i.e. "Either pronunciation is acceptable")
    – Colin Fine
    Dec 2 '20 at 19:49
24

Both are correct.

Ee-ther /ˈiːð.ə(ɹ)/ tends to be more common in the United States, but it would not be wrong to use aye-ther /ˈaɪð.ə(ɹ)/.

Whichever way you choose to pronounce it, you should not have trouble being understood.

4
  • 1
    +1. note that if an american says /ˈaɪð.ə(ɹ)/ it sometimes is rejected as phony or trying to be british.
    – hunter
    Dec 17 '13 at 17:08
  • @hunter: +1 for your comment. Do most British people use /ˈaɪð.ə(ɹ)/?
    – Safira
    Jan 5 '14 at 23:23
  • 7
    I actually pronounce it both ways, depending on the situation. "You'll have to either do this or that" I would use the long i ("eye"), but "I would accept either one" I would use a long e ("ee"). Weird, I know.
    – Wayne
    Feb 13 '14 at 21:01
  • @Wayne Yes exactly - I can't think of another word where I'll slip between such distinct pronunciations so fluidly. It is weird.
    – SusanW
    Mar 7 at 18:15
3

This is a classic case of dialects.

Both pronunciations are correct, however the one a person uses depends on their upbringing, their region and their preference.

3
  • 2
    If your native language is English, it all depends on where you grew up. If you're learning to speak English, try to remember to use the same pronunciation for "neither". Jan 23 '13 at 21:30
  • 10
    I don't think this is really a matter of dialect (or upbringing). Vast numbers of native speakers (myself included) use both forms, and would be hard-pressed to even guess which one they use more often. Jan 27 '13 at 22:27
  • I deliberately and consciously say Ee-ther (and nee-ther) just as I deliberately always pronounce often as offen. I was taught in 6th grade how to pronounce often, and that's how I've always pronounced it, despite the numbers of people around me who "mispronouce" it.
    – user6951
    Oct 12 '14 at 23:43
1

I think the British use ei-ther as the pronunciation, and the Americans use eee-ther.

I use UK English, but I use both forms occasionally.

1

Just to add a bit to the answers already given,

'Most' native speakers tend to pronounce 'either' [ˈaɪðə] in sentences like 'either this or that'. And pronounce it [ˈiːðə] in 'I don't either' constructions. But then again, it varies from speaker to speaker. Both of them are correct and perfectly natural.

However, [ˈiːðə] is increasingly common.

1
  • 1
    In this video at 18:21, the BrE speaker says: "... we don't say [ˈaɪðə] of these [ˈiːðə]...".
    – Void
    Dec 2 '20 at 19:51

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .