Either


Either

Either/or means "one or the other." Its usage, versus the simple or structure, is often for emphatic purposes, sometimes intending to emphasize that only one option is possible, or to emphasize that there are only two options. Its use in a sentence lets the reader/listener know in advance that a list of two or more possibilities will be given. Its negative is neither/nor, meaning "none of them".

Pronunciation

Either has two main different pronunciations in modern English.

An Ira Gershwin song, Let's Call the Whole Thing Off, opens with the words "You say ee-ther and I say eye-ther", and concerns a couple who lament the strain put on their relationship by pronunciation differences.

The 'ee-ther' pronunciation forms with the word 'ether' one of the few minimal pairs demonstrating that the difference between the voiced dental fricative and the unvoiced dental fricative is phonemic in English.

See also

  • List of auto-antonyms in English

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Synonyms:
(of two) / (of several) / (of two), ,


Look at other dictionaries:

  • either — 1. pronunciation. The pronunciations iy dhǝ and ee dhǝ are about equally common. 2. parts of speech. Either functions in two ways: as an adjective or pronoun, and as an adverb or conjunction. In all these uses, it means essentially ‘one or other… …   Modern English usage

  • either — [ē′thər, ī′thər] adj. [ME < OE æghwæther < a (æ), always (see AY) + gehwæther, each of two (see WHETHER): akin to, and of same formation as, OHG eogihwedar] 1. one or the other (of two) [use either hand] 2. each (of two); the one and the… …   English World dictionary

  • Either — Ei ther ([=e] [th][ e]r or [imac] [th][ e]r; 277), a. & pron. [OE. either, aither, AS. [=ae]g[eth]er, [=ae]ghw[ae][eth]er (akin to OHG. [=e]ogiwedar, MHG. iegeweder); [=a] + ge + hw[ae][eth]er whether. See {Each}, and {Whether}, and cf. {Or},… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Either — Ei ther, conj. Either precedes two, or more, co[ o]rdinate words or phrases, and is introductory to an alternative. It is correlative to or. [1913 Webster] Either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey, or peradventure he… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • either —  Either suggests a duality and is almost always better avoided when the context involves quantities of more than two, as in Decisions on Mansfield’s economy are now made in either Detroit, Pittsburgh, or New York. Often in such constructions,… …   Bryson’s dictionary for writers and editors

  • Either/Or — Album par Elliott Smith Sortie 27 février 1997 Durée 37:00 Genre(s) Rock indépendant Producteur(s) Elliott Smith Tom Rothrock Rob Schnapf …   Wikipédia en Français

  • either...or ...or — either...or (...or) phrase used for showing two or more possibilities or choices You must answer either yes or no. You can contact us either by phone, by email, or by letter. When there’s a crisis, they either do nothing or do something totally… …   Useful english dictionary

  • either — O.E. ægðer, contraction of æghwæðer each of two, both, from a always (see AYE (Cf. aye) (2)) + ge collective prefix + hwæðer which of two, whether (see WHETHER (Cf. whether)). Cognate with Du. ieder, O.H.G. eogiwedar, G …   Etymology dictionary

  • either — ► CONJUNCTION & ADVERB 1) used before the first of two (or occasionally more) alternatives specified (the other being introduced by ‘or’). 2) (adverb ) used to indicate a similarity or link with a statement just made: You don t like him, do you?… …   English terms dictionary

  • either-or — [ē′thərôr′] adj. designating a proposition, situation, etc. limited to only two alternatives …   English World dictionary