Word pairs: both | either | neither


Both of us - Either one is fine - Neither do I


We use both to communicate that something is true about two people or things:

  • Do you prefer the brown shoes or the black ones?
    I like both. (the black and the brown shoes)
  • Both pictures are very beautiful.
  • Both players were excellent.


We usually use either in questions and negative sentences:

  • I don't like either of them.
  • I haven't met either of his brothers.

We can also use either to say we don't have a preference between two options:

  • Do you want tea or coffee?
    Either one is fine.


We use neither to communicate that something is not true about two people or things. We use it in affirmative sentences and usually as a short reply to what the other person said before:

  • Neither one is good. (the two of them are bad)
  • I didn't go to the party.
    Neither did I.
Further learning
Description Author Language
Quick illustration of how to use 'both', 'either' and 'neither' BBC Learning