The word "neither" is similar to the word "none"; however, you usually use "neither" when there are two things, two groups, two people, a person and a group, etcetera. There are two acceptable pronunciations for this word:

neither (long e)

neither (long i)

In these sentences, neither is an adjective (Notice that "neither" is placed before a noun in these examples):

  • Neither applicant is qualified for the position. (Two people applied. None of them is qualified.)
  • Neither store had what I was looking for.
  • She likes neither one. (She doesn’t like any of the choices.)

three people

Bob likes neither one of these girls.

In these sentences, "neither" is a pronoun:

  • Maria likes neither of the apartments that she looked at today. (This could be from among two choices or a group larger than two.)
  • When asked about her choices, she said that neither was acceptable. (The word "neither" is singular when used as a pronoun.)
  • Neither of the choices is acceptable. (Not, "Neither of the choices are acceptable.)
  • She doesn’t like this one or that one. She likes neither.

The word "neither" is also used as a conjunction with another conjunction, "nor."

  • The workers are neither well-paid nor secure in their positions.
  • An SUV is neither a car nor a truck. It’s somewhere in between. (It is not a car or a truck.)
  • Neither a lender nor a borrower be. (This is a popular quote from Hamlet. Polonius is giving advice to his son, Laertes.)

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December 16, 2015