Either and Neither Used as Adverb


In English grammar, 'either' and 'neither' are commonly used as pronouns, conjunctions and, more importantly, as adverbs. The focus of this tutorial is on their use as adverbs. When employed as adverbs, 'either' and 'neither' are used to connect alternatives and negatives. This tutorial will discuss the use of 'either' and 'neither' in various sentence types, provide examples, explore related grammar rules, and offer exercises to help solidify your understanding.

Uses of 'Either' as an Adverb

Positive Statements

'Either' is used to connect two alternatives. It is used in positive statements, usually at the end of the sentence. The common pattern is subject + verb + either. For example:

  • My father doesn’t like tea. My mother doesn’t like it either.
  • I don’t like horror movies. My friend doesn’t like them either.

Negative Statements

'Either' can also be used in negative clauses for added emphasis, especially when you are agreeing with something that somebody has just said or you are commenting on a situation. For example:

  • ‘I can’t swim.’ ‘I can’t either.’
  • ‘I’ve never been to the USA.’ ‘I haven’t either.’

Uses of 'Neither' as an Adverb

Agreement with Negative Statements

'Neither' is used as an adverb to agree with negative statements or to say that a negative situation is also true for someone else. When used in this way, 'Neither' typically begins the sentence and is followed by the auxiliary verb and the subject. For example:

  • John doesn’t smoke. Neither do I.
  • I haven’t seen that movie. Neither has she.

Adding Negative Information

'Neither' can also be used to add negative information or to say that a negative statement also applies to another person or thing. It is often used with the conjunction 'nor'. For example:

  • He didn’t remember the incident. Neither did she.
  • Sarah can’t play the piano. Neither can her sister.

Grammar Rules for using 'Either' and 'Neither' as Adverbs

Linking Clauses

Both 'either' and 'neither' can be used to link two clauses together. 'Either' is used with positive verbs and ‘neither’ is used with negative verbs. For example:

  • I don’t eat meat, and my brother doesn’t either.
  • I don’t enjoy winter sports, and neither does my wife.

Verb-Subject Agreement

When 'either' and 'neither' are used as adverbs to begin a sentence, the verb following them should agree to the subject that follows. For example:

  • Neither do they.
  • Either is fine with us.


Understanding the use of 'either' and 'neither' as adverbs can greatly improve your fluency in English. Remember, both 'either-and' and 'neither-nor' combinations are used to connect alternatives, but the former is used with positives while the latter is used with negatives. Practise using these words in different contexts and, with time, their application will come naturally to you.

Practice Exercises

Try using 'either' and 'neither' as adverbs in the following sentences:

  • Mary doesn’t want to go to the cinema tonight. ______ does her husband.
  • Enjoy your meal. You can have ______ the chicken or the beef.
  • I don’t think we’ll have time to visit the museum. We probably won’t have time to visit the art gallery ______.
  • Tony failed the test. ______ did Martha.

Keep practicing and improving your understanding of 'either' and 'neither' used as adverbs.

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