I don't know how to explain these sentences. But my teacher gave me this problem of combining two sentences using neither-nor or either-or:

  1. I will attend the party.
  2. If I can't, my sister will.

How do you combine those using neither-nor or either-or? My best try is

I will either attend the party, or if I can't my sister will.

  • 1
    Before just giving you the answer, do you have any ideas of what it might be?
    – Jez W
    Oct 19, 2015 at 13:44
  • 1
    Also, "either-nor"? Usually it's "neither-nor"... Oct 19, 2015 at 13:45
  • @Victor I think that must just be a typo (as it's correct in the title) - fixed in the proposed edit.
    – Jez W
    Oct 19, 2015 at 13:54

2 Answers 2


Either/or is for use in positive situations:

Either my sister or I will attend the party

I.E. someone will attend

Neither/nor is for use in negative situations:

Neither my sister nor I will attend the party

I.E. No one is going. It may help to think of the 'n's in neither/nor as being conflated or borrowed from "not".


Your attempt is close, but it doesn't fit the pattern expected from you, I believe.

I will either attend the party, or if I can't my sister will.

When you put "either" after "will", you essentially specify that there are two (mutually exclusive) actions that you will take. The description of the first follows the "either", and according to the use of "either-or", the description of the other ought to follow the "or". For instance,

I will either run the 10K or swim the relay (but not both).
He will either reach the top or die trying.

In other words, the exclusive portions each follows the "either" and the "or" in the sentence. If, as you describe, you might attend (one portion), and in case you're unable, your sister will, then you need to wrap those into parts to follow the "key" words:

Either I will attend the party, or, if I am unable, my sister will.

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