What's the difference between either and neither?
Can you provide me some examples?

  • 3
    While it's always appreciated to post such questions here, you may also want to include some kind of research you may have done on web about this confusion of yours. And also, what exactly was the confusion you encountered in your day to day work or life. People will still be answering your questions but they will be more directed to the context you may have set in the question which in turn will help you! :)
    – Mohit
    Jan 25, 2013 at 6:17
  • @Mohit Thanks man. It is actually not a confusion of mine, but many friends have asked me about it. I just wanted to post the question for future reference to others.
    – user47
    Jan 25, 2013 at 12:20

4 Answers 4


Either means any one of two possibilities, whereas neither means none of them.

For example:

John: Would you like something to drink?
Jane: Either Coke or Pepsi would be fine.

Here, Jane would like something to drink—specifically, John can get her a Coke or a Pepsi. Generally, either excludes both options—John should not get her both a Coke and a Pepsi.

However, if the conversation were to go along these lines:

John: Would you like coffee or tea?
Jane: Neither, thanks.

Here, Jane does not want any of the two options offered her—she does not want coffee, and she does not want tea.

Both either and neither should only be used when there are two options. If there are three or more, analogous words would be any and none.

  • 6
    Not quite. 1) Either .. or may be inclusive or exclusive (OR or XOR). 2) Both either and neither may be used with more than two options; think for instance of the US Postal Service creed: "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds." However, bare either or neither, without further specification, should only be used of two options. Mar 7, 2013 at 15:54

Either usually means one, but not both (xor), whereas neither usually means none.

"Either a, b, or c" usually means "one of a, b, or c, but not more than one.

"Neither a nor b" usually means "not a, and not b".

  • Not so. English or may mean either OR or XOR. Mar 7, 2013 at 15:43
  • 1
    @StoneyB Of course it may, but not usually in this context.
    – ctype.h
    Mar 10, 2013 at 2:36

Neither: Not any of those.

Either: Any of them.

For example:

Would you like a Pepsi or a Coke?

When you respond with either, you mean that you'd have any of those. On the contrary, when you respond with neither, you mean that you wouldn't like to have any of those.


Basically, Either is used for Affirmation and Neither is used for Negation
For eg:-
1) We can either go to beach or to the hillstation
2) We can neither go the beach nor to the hillstation