The Sunday News
WE use both, neither and either when we are talking about two things. You can use these words with a noun: Both schools are very good. Not the both schools). Neither school is expensive. We can go to either school. I don’t mind. (either + one or the other, it doesn’t matter which one). I didn’t like either school. (not the one or the other).
You can also use both/neither/either with of . . . When you use these words with of, you always need the/these/those/my/your/his etc. You cannot say “both of schools”. You have to say both of the schools”, “both of these schools”. Both of these schools are very good. Neither of the schools we went was (or were) expensive. We can go to either of those schools I don’t mind. With both you can leave out of. So you can say; both my parents or both of my parents.
After both of/neither of/either of you can also use us/you/them. –Can either of you speak Ndebele? I wanted Ralph and Lizzy to come but neither of them wanted to. You must say “both of” before us/you/them: Both of us were very tired. (not both us). After neither of . . . you can use a singular or a plural of a verb: -Neither of the children wants or want) to go to bed. Neither of us is (or are) married.
You can say both . . . and . . ., neither . . . nor . . . and either . . . or . . . Study these examples: Both Zenzo and Musa were late. They were both tired and hungry. Neither Thando nor Robert came to the party. He said he would contact me but neither wrote nor phoned me. I’m not sure where he is from. He’s either English or Asian. Either you apologise or I’ll never speak to you again.
You can also use both/neither/either alone: Is he Zimbabwean or Congolese? Neither. He is Zambian.
Do you want tea or coffee? ‘Either, I don’t mind. I couldn’t decide which one to choose. I liked both.
Complete these sentences with both/neither/either. Sometimes you need of. Examples: There are two windows in my room. It was very hot so I had both of them open. After the accident . . . cars stopped. . . . drivers got out and started shouting at each other. . . . them were very aggressive. It wasn’t a very good football match . . . team played well. A: Which of the two films did you prefer? The first one or the second one? B: Actually I didn’t like . . . them.
. . . . these pullovers are very nice. I don’t know which one to buy. ‘Do you mind which sandwich I take?’ ‘No, take . . . Is today the 17th or the 19th? ‘. . . It’s the 20th’. When the boat started to sink, we were really frightened because . . . us could swim.
Some and any. Some/any + one/-body/-thing/-where. In general we use some in positive sentences and any in negative sentences: Charity has bought some new shoes. I’ve got something in my eye. They haven’t got any children. He’s lazy. He never does any work. We use any in the following sentences because the meaning is negative: She left home without any money. (She did not have any money.) He refused to say anything. (She didn’t say anything.)
We often use any/anyone/anything/ after if. If any messages arrive for me, can you forward them to this address. If anyone has any questions, I’ll be pleased to answer them. If you need anything, just ask. Buy some oranges if you see any. The following sentences are without if, but they have the idea of if: Anyone who wants to do the examination must give me their names before Friday. (= if there is anyone who . . .)
In questions we usually use any (not some): Have you got any money? –Has anybody seen Japhet? But we often use some in questions when we expect the answer ‘yes’. –What’s wrong with your eye? Have you got something in it? (=I think you have got something in your eye and I expect you to say ‘yes’. We use some in questions especially when we offer or ask for things: -Would you like some tea? – Can I have some of those bananas?
Any also has another meaning. Any/anyone/anybody/ anything/ anywhere can mean it doesn’t matter which/who/what/where: You can catch any of these buses. They all go to town. (= it doesn’t matter which of these buses). Come and see me any time you want. (it doesn’t matter when). You can have anything you want for your birthday present. We left the door unlocked. Anybody could have come in.
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