‘Either or’ is used to emphasize a choice. When there are two or more options or alternatives, but we are not sure which of them is definite, we use ‘either or’. The verb agrees with the subject preceding it. If the subject is singular, the verb has to be singular. If the subject is plural, the verb is plural.
- Example 1: Either the clerk or the secretary has the keys. (one of the two has the keys but you are unsure who actually has them)
- Example 2: You can either stay or come with us. (you can choose from any of the two options)
- Example 3: You either go by taxi or bus.
- Example 4: Either Sarah or the girls are going to make dinner.
‘Neither nor’ connects two or more negative alternatives. When we say none of the options are real or true, we use ‘neither-nor’. The verb agrees with the subject preceding it. If the subject is singular, the verb has to be singular. If the subject is plural, the verb is plural.
- Example 1: Neither the café nor the restaurant serves good pizza.
- Example 2: Neither John nor his sister mentioned anything about moving house. ( John didn’t mention anything, his sister didn’t mention anything)
- Example 3: Neither the teacher nor the students were in the class.
- Example 4: Neither John nor Mike likes doing dishes.