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Unit 16. Both, either, neither
(использование определителей both, either, neither)

Main points

1. You use "both", "either", and "neither" when you are saying something about two people or things that have been mentioned, or are known to the person you are talking to.

There were excellent performances from both actresses.

Denis held his cocoa in both hands.

No argument could move either man from this decision.

Neither report mentioned the Americans.

2. You use "both" when you think of the two people or things as a group. You use "both" with a plural noun.

Both children were happy with their presents.

Both policies make good sense.

3. You use "either" when you think of the two people or things as individuals. You use "either" with a singular noun.

Either way is acceptable.

She could not see either man.

4. You use "neither" when you are thinking of the two people or things as individuals and you are making a negative statement about them. You use "neither" with a singular noun.

In reality, neither party was enthusiastic.

Neither man knew what he was doing.

5. You can use "both" with a specific determiner such as "the", "these", or "my".

Both the young men agreed to come.

Both these books have been recommended to us.

Both her parents were dead.

WARNING: You cannot use "either" or "neither" with a specific determiner.

6. You can use "both of", "either of", or "neither of" with a plural noun or pronoun. Note that when "both of", "either of", and "neither of" are followed by a noun rather than a pronoun, you must use a specific determiner such as "the", "these", or "her" before the noun.

Both of these restaurants are excellent.

Either of them could have done the job.

Neither of our boys was involved.

Note that "neither of" is normally used with a singular verb but it can be used with a plural verb.

Neither of us was having any luck.

Neither of the children were there.

Unit 16. Both, either, neither

7. Remember that you can also use "both", "either", and "neither" as conjunctions. You use "both … and" to give two alternatives and say that each of them is possible or true.

I am looking for opportunities both in this country and abroad.

Both I and my wife were surprised to see you there.

You use "either … or" to give two alternatives and say that only one of them is possible or true.

You can have either fruit or ice cream.

I was expecting you either today or tomorrow.

You either love him or hate him.

You also use "neither … nor" to give two alternatives and say that each of them is not possible or is not true.

Neither Margaret nor John was there.

He did it neither quickly nor well.

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