“Both (of)” / “Neither (of)” / “Either (of)”

   

 
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Topic Progress:

Welcome to your “Both (of)” / “Neither (of)” / “Either (of)” lesson! In this topic we talk about:
• When do we use “Both (of)” / “Neither (of)” / “Either (of)”?
Using “of”
Other rules
“Either/or”, “Neither/nor”, “Both/and”
“Either/neither/both”, “any/none/all”
Take the quizzes when you’re ready! If you’re having problems, use the comment box to contact our English Teachers.

When do we use “Both (of)” / “Neither (of)” / “Either (of)”?

“Both”, “neither” and “either” are used to talk about two things. These words are used with nouns. Imagine the situation: I would like to cook tonight, I’m trying to decide between spaghetti and pizza:

Both dishes are delicious.”

Neither dish is difficult to make.

I can cook either dish.”

Using “of”

We use “both/neither/either” + “of” + “the/our/these etc.” + a noun. For example:

We could cook either of these meals.

I have met both of James’ parents.”

I liked neither of the films we watched last night.”

Sometimes you don’t need “of” after “both”. For example:

I liked both of the dresses.” I liked both dresses.”

Both of my parents live in England.” Both my parents live in England.”

However, you must use “both of” before “us/you/them”:

Both of us work here.”
(not Both us work here.”)

Both of them are married.
(not Both them are married.”)

You can also use “neither of” or “either of” before “us/you/them”:

“I asked a couple for directions to the station but neither of them knew where it was.”

“Can either of you speak Japanese?”

After “neither of”, you can use a singular verb or a plural verb:

Neither of the meals were good.” Neither of the meals was good.”

Neither of them have money.” Neither of them has money.”

Other rules

“Both/neither/either” can be used without a noun:

“I don’t know which to choose, I like both.”

“Is this pork or chicken?” “Neither, it’s turkey.”

“Would you like tea or coffee?” “Either, I don’t mind.”

“Either/or”, “Neither/nor”, “Both/and”

  • “Either/or”:

“I don’t know what it is, it’s either a rat or a mouse.”

“She’s either French or Swiss, I’m not sure.”

  • “Neither/nor”:

“He’s neither French nor German, he’s Spanish.”

Neither Bob nor Steve came to the picnic.”

  • “Both/and”:

Both Mary and Wendy came to the picnic.”

“Bolognese contains both tomatoes and onions.”

“Either/neither/both”, “any/none/all”

Compare “either/neither/both” and “any/none/all”:

“There are two great restaurants here, you could eat at either of them.”

“There are many great restaurants here, you could eat at any of them.”

 

“We tried two car rental places, neither of them had any cars left.”

“We tried a lot of car rental places, none of them had any cars left.”