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I can speak neither Chinese nor Japanese

In this lesson, we are going to study the use of the words EITHER and
NEITHER, which are both singular words meaning one or the other out of
two. From the point of view of grammar, they can act as a pronoun, an adverb
or a determiner.

We have to be very careful not to confuse either and both, which refers to two
elements, but do not imply a choice. Study the following examples:


I will have both wine and water (I am not choosing, and want the two of them)

I will have either coffee or tea (I mean that I like the two of them, so you can choose
to offer me any of them)

The usage of these words usually causes problems both for native and non-
native people.

The basic idea that we have to bear in mind is that EITHER indicates a choice
(example: we should bring either coffee or tea) and NEITHER combines
negative ideas (Example: I can speak neither Chinese nor Japanese).


1. Neither + singular noun

We use neither before a singular noun to mean not one and not the other (of two)

Can you come on Monday or Tuesday?

I am afraid neither day is possible.
2. Neither of + plurals

We use neither of before a determiner (for example: the, my these) and before a
pronoun. The noun or pronouns is plural.

Neither of my brothers can sing. (NOT neither my brothers can sing)

Neither of us saw it happen.

After neither of + noun/pronoun, we use a singular verb in a formal style.

Neither of my sisters is married

In an formal style a plural verb is possible

Neither of my sisters are married.

3. Neither used alone

We can use neither without a noun or pronoun, if the meaning is clear!

Which one do you want= - Neither!

4. Neithernor

This structure is used to join two negative ideas.

The film was neither well made nor well acted.

Sometimes more than two ideas are connected by neithernor

He neither smiled, spoke, nor looked at me.

5. Neither, nor and noteither

a) neither and nor

We can use neither and nor as adverbs to mean also not. Neither and nor, come at the
beginning of a clause, and are followed by inverted word order: auxiliary verb + subject

I cant swim. Neither/nor can I. (NOT I also cant)

Ruth didnt turn up, and neither/nor did Kate. (NOTand kate didnt too)

b) not either

We can also use noteither with the same meaning and normal word order.

I cant swim, I cant either.

Ruth didnt turn up and Kate didnt either

*In very informal speech: me neither

I cant swim. Me neither



I did a new recipe, would you like a taste?

In many cases we can see verbs which are used as nouns in a sentence. In the
field of grammar, this is called nominalization.

Look at the following examples:

Would you like a taste?

You have one more try

Take a look at those children.


Using nouns for actions

It is very common to refer to an action by using a noun instead of a verb.

Nouns of this kind often have the same form as the related verbs, The structure
is especially common in informal style.

There was a loud crash.

Did I hear a cough?

I need a wash!

Lets have a talk about your plans!

Let your sister have a go on the swing.

Just take a look at yourself!

Would you like a taste?

What about a drink?

Come one-one more try!

Common structures

Nouns of this kind are often introduced by general-purpose verbs such as have,
take, give, make, go for.

Ill have a think and let you know what I decide.

I like to have/take a bath before I go to bed!

If it wont start, lets give it a push!

I dont know the answer, but I am going to make a guess.

I try to go for a run every day!

We can use ing forms in a similar way after do

She does a bit of a painting, but she doesnt like to show people.

These structures are very common, when we talk about casual, unplanned or
unsystematic recreational activity. Compare:

Lets have a swim (More natural than: Lets swim!)

Do you do any sport? Yes, I swim!



The movies I like or should I say films?

British people and American people can always understand each other but
there are a few notable differences between British English and American

In this unit we are learning about some differences between British and
American English. We can find them either in pronunciation, vocabulary or the
spelling of words.


American/ British English

English in USA differs considerably from British English. Pronunciation is the most
striking difference but there are also a number of differences in vocabulary and spelling
as well as slight differences in grammar. On the whole, British people are exposed to a
lot of American English on TV, in films and so on and they will usually understand
most American vocabulary.

American spelling is usually simpler. For example, British English words ending in
our and re, end in or and er in American English.

Colour color

Centre center

There are differences in individual words too.

Plough plow

The American spelling usually tries to correspond more closely to pronunciation.

British English vs American English
Soda/Soft drink Crossroads
Trousers Chips
Lift Nappy
Autumn Candy floss / Fairy floss
Biscuits Pavement
Lorry Dummy
Boot Queue
Bonet Chemists (shop)/pharmacy
Football Pocket money
Spanner Petrol
Jam Toilet/Loo
Jelly Rubber
Torch Flat

British English
Pack of cards
Sweet shop/ Lolly shop