We use both/neither/either for two things. You can use these words with a noun (both books, neither book, etc.).
For example, you are going out to eat. There are two possible restaurants. You say:
– Both restaurants are very good. (not The both restaurants)
– Neither restaurant is expensive.
– We can go to either restaurant. I don’t care.
(either = one or the other, it doesn’t matter which one)
Both of … / neither of … / either of …
We use both of / neither of / either of + the/these/my/Tom’s …, etc. So we say “both of the restaurants,” “both of those restaurants,” etc. (but not both of restaurants):
– Both of these restaurants are very good.
– Neither of the restaurants we went to was(or were) expensive.
– I haven’t been to either of those restaurants. (= I haven’t been to one or the other)
You don’t need of after both. So you can say:
– Both my parents are from Michigan. or Both of my parents …
You can use both of / neither of / either of + us/you/them.
– Both of us were very tired. (not Both us were …)
After neither of … a singular or a plural verb is possible:
– Neither of the children wants (or want) to go to bed
You can also use both/neither/either alone, without a noun:
– I couldn’t decide which of the two shirts to buy. I liked both.
(or I liked both of them.)
– “Is your friend British or American?” “Neither. She’s Australian.”
– “Do you want tea or coffee?” “Either. It doesn’t matter”
You can say:
both … and …
- Both Ann and Tom were late.
- I was both tired and hungry when I got home.
neither … nor …
- Neither Liz nor Robin came to the party.
- She said she would contact me, but she neither wrote nor called.
either … or …
- I’m not sure where he’s from. He’s either Spanish or Italian.
- Either you apologize, or I’ll never speak to you again.
Compare either/neither/both (two things) and any/none/all (more than two):
– There are two good hotels here.
You could stay at either of them.
- We tired two hotels
- Neither of them had any rooms.
- Both of them were full
- There are many good hotels here.
You could stay at any of them.
We tiered a lot of hotels.
- None of them had any rooms.
- All of them were full.