Definition of either in US English:

either

conjunction & adverb

  • 1Used before the first of two (or occasionally more) alternatives that are being specified (the other being introduced by “or”)

    ‘either I'll accompany you to your room, or I'll wait here’
    ‘available in either black or white’
    • ‘He sought to argue in the alternative that he either was insane at the time he killed her or he was so drunk that he was incapable of forming the intent to do so.’
    • ‘Her paintings are in either bright colours or black and white.’
    • ‘Her hair was either naturally black or she had it dyed that color, my guess is that it was dyed.’
    • ‘Inside you find grippy sports seats, either in boring black or with bright contrast trim.’
    • ‘Mrs Atkins called for the money either to be made available to the nurses for whom it was intended or returned to the original donors.’
    • ‘This would be accompanied with either one or two gallon cans of tea.’
    • ‘It was introduced from North America either by accident or design from Victorian times.’
    • ‘But the guys I can talk to either aren't available to me or wouldn't understand.’
    • ‘Perhaps your newspaper can help by either publishing this letter or informing your readers through an article.’
    • ‘Each member receives a monthly statement showing either a debit or credit balance.’
    • ‘He was not selected in either the All Black senior team or junior team which was named earlier this week.’
    • ‘Other treatments may be used either as alternatives, or in combination with a facelift.’
    • ‘This can happen either occasionally during cell wounding or regularly during cytokinesis and meiosis.’
    • ‘Then either through tiredness of lack of concentration, Celtic began to lose the plot.’
    • ‘Can we either provide a link or a brief explanation in future, please?’
    • ‘Behind the sticker there should either be a small black piece of plastic or just a hole, as shown below.’
    • ‘I have also now made the track available for download in either WMA or MP3 format.’
    • ‘Nine out of 29 households participated in the scheme either regularly or occasionally.’
    • ‘We want to discuss this face to face, you need to either be available on Saturday Morning or come out and see us.’
    • ‘Plants are also available mail order either via the website or by ringing 01904 728506.’
    • ‘We were fairly certain that the pilot either blacked out again or ran out of fuel.’
    • ‘He had on a black and white stripped shirt with a pair of black pants and was either a bartender or a referee.’
    • ‘As a rough rule of thumb, the best rates are available either over the internet or from some of the aggressive building societies.’
    • ‘As usual, you can either follow the links, or read the cut and paste articles below.’
  • 2adverb, with negative Used to indicate a similarity or link with a statement just made.

    ‘You don't like him, do you? I don't either’
    ‘it won't do any harm, but won't really help either’
    • ‘You don't need to be a genius to work out the similarities either.’
    • ‘And I am not going to open any of her letters either, they can go straight in the bin.’
    • ‘Needless to say I won't be writing to them for permission to use these links either.’
    • ‘I don't believe that the Reserve Bank believes that there is a strong link either.’
    • ‘In fact, increasing your size won't matter either, so grab a cream bun whenever you like.’
    • ‘No knocks, creaks or rattles either, indicating that it's been well screwed together.’
    • ‘The harder path, if we have the will, isn't paved with yellow bricks and it isn't black and white either.’
    • ‘The players were not available for that tie either and, six years on, not much appears to have changed.’
    1. 2.1 For that matter; moreover.
      ‘I was too tired to go. And I couldn't have paid my way, either’
      • ‘The added sugar and salt in the sauce will not help health matters, either.’
      • ‘It wasn't something that Joan could easily ignore either; no matter how hard she tried.’
      • ‘The copious quantities of salt in this product are unlikely to help matters either.’
      • ‘Well, it does not matter any more either, apparently - we just go with those polls.’
      • ‘Nor did I know how long that would be the case for us both, either, as a matter of fact.’
      • ‘There is no such thing as a Great Novel, divorced from its readers, or an absolute stinker of a novel either, for that matter.’

pronoun & determiner

  • 1One or the other of two people or things.

    as determiner ‘there were no children of either marriage’
    as pronoun ‘they have a mortgage that will be repaid if either of them dies’
    • ‘Equal rights to custody means that a child born outside of marriage can live with either parent.’
    • ‘There is no truth to either of those statements reported in the Sunday Star Times.’
    • ‘They would be together always, no matter what happened to either of them and that was what was important.’
    • ‘Journey time to either city is around 5 to 6 hours - the road is in a decent state.’
    • ‘I don't have a problem with people thinking either of the two statements above, and giving their opinion when asked.’
    • ‘Change-of-address cards are available at either of the downtown postal locations.’
    • ‘Every blogger linked to by either of us will be considered for a broadcast interview.’
    • ‘Get yourself to either venue this weekend and you'll see theatre that makes you believe in theatre again.’
    • ‘Is there in any one of the statements by either presidential candidate a solution here?’
    • ‘He decided to drop the subject of Rocky, seeing as how it barely mattered to either of them whether he had a job or not.’
    • ‘These two groups have changed the world, but not in the way that either intended.’
    • ‘Then the event started and I didn't get a chance to introduce myself to either of those admirable gentlemen.’
    • ‘Is it possible that either of those statements could be true, let alone both at the same time?’
    • ‘Three months was so short a time for love, but it didn't matter to either of them really.’
    • ‘Holding federal elections before either event would not win public favour.’
    • ‘Our reason for choosing the phrase world politics is that we think it is more inclusive than either of the alternative terms.’
    • ‘It was a very tight tough game with few chances created by either team.’
    • ‘A win would secure top spot for either of us, a loss could have seen either team drop out.’
    • ‘There are plenty of people with libertarian values who don't feel at home in either party.’
    • ‘Are there any further matters which either of you wish me to deal with?’
    1. 1.1determiner Each of two.
      ‘the road was straight with fields of grass on either side’
      • ‘Everyone hid in the tall prairie grass on either side of the road.’
      • ‘We stepped into the house and into a narrow entryway, which had a door on either side of it and stairs going to the second floor.’
      • ‘One is an idea I've had knocking around since about 1994, and is set at about that time and a couple of years either side of it.’
      • ‘The fields on either side were strangely empty and quiet, with almost no livestock to be seen.’
      • ‘Just before the farm is reached you will see waymarked paths and stiles leading through fields on either side of the farm road.’
      • ‘At either side there are clipped hedgerows, through which are visible the concrete posts of a boundary fence.’
      • ‘Play had become untidy for a brief period either side of the interval, with signs that a very good Waterloo side was beginning to get on top.’
      • ‘There was enough pride and quiet admiration to fill Yankee Stadium, right there on either side of the fence in left field.’
      • ‘The rice fields on either side of the road lay motionless in the dim light.’
      • ‘They kept the ball alive in contact, and always had support runners on either side of the ball-carrier.’
      • ‘Those trees used to stand like sentinels on either side of the path leading to the bandstand from the Glass House.’
      • ‘The service road on either side of the existing road was not continuous.’
      • ‘In the recording, the choir stands in two rows at the front of the congregational pews, with the musicians placed at either side.’
      • ‘The grass on either side of me was blooming with flowers in its green sea of blades.’
      • ‘In the end though, all the tour amounted to was a ride up and down a nearby canyon; two to a camel, in metal seats slung either side of the camel.’
      • ‘Her two friends standing either side of the peroxide blonde, whose ample bosom was spilling out of her tight top, sneered at me.’
      • ‘One of my favourite memories is my father planting loads of young Christmas trees in the woods that ran either side of the field.’
      • ‘Tall trees and expanses of paddy fields and villages lie there on either side of the road.’
      • ‘A pair of potted hydrangeas sat on either side of the front door.’
      • ‘There were empty grassy fields on either side of the uninterrupted road.’

Usage

In good English writing style, it is important that either and or are correctly placed so that the structures following each word balance and mirror each other. Thus, it is correct to say either I'll accompany you, or I'll wait here. The two expressed choices are parallel, as each includes the subject and its verb phrase: I'll accompany you; I'll wait here. It would be incorrect to say either I'll accompany you or John because the first choice includes the subject and its verb phrase, but the second choice is just an object: I'll accompany you; John. A corrected version could be I'll accompany either you or John (now the choices are parallel, as each is just the object: you; John)

Phrases

  • either way

    • Whichever of two given alternatives is the case.

      ‘they may leave or they may accept the change, but either way, it'll take some work on your end’
      • ‘They can use it or not, but that's all they get, and he gets paid either way.’
      • ‘It was either give in now or give in later, either way I was going to give in.’
      • ‘Whether or not the plutocrats will be swayed remains to be seen, but either way BMW has given it its best.’
      • ‘Suing for libel is much easier in the UK than in the USA, but either way you would not want it to happen.’
      • ‘He had his family's blessing, but says he would have made the break either way.’
      • ‘If you are motivated by money alone then I think you're likely to be disappointed either way.’
      • ‘All it takes is a telephone call, either to the council or local councillor, either way it will be removed.’
      • ‘Give your all to one or the other, either way you'll be a great performer!’
      • ‘Seeing as he's going to gaol either way, he may as well make a bit of money out of it.’
      • ‘She might be guilty or she might be innocent but either way at least someone has been held to account.’

Origin

Old English ǣgther, contracted form of ǣg(e)hwæther, of Germanic origin; ultimately related to aye and whether.

Pronunciation