ENGLISCH/794: Questions to Mrs Gobbledygook (139) Either (SB)


139. When do I use the word either?

Dear Mrs Gobbledygook

I learn English for five years now. I like it very much and in a few years time I am going to England for my final exams ... By the way there is one question I want to ask you: When do I use the word "either"?

Yours sincerely

E. Salma (from Italy)


Dear Mr Salma

This little word is something that causes a lot of problems to people who learn English. First a little point of pronunciation: People often wonder whether it should be

[aI]ther or [i:]ther.

For native speakers its a question of personal choice or where they grow up. The latest version of the Daniel Jones pronunciation dictionary gives at its first choice of pronunciation [aI]ther and that pronunciation is the one that was traditionally used by BBC announcers.

If someone asks you, would you like tea or coffee? And you have no preference, which means you really don't mind which drink, or in other words, you like both ... What single word of six letters could you use, to indicate that both types of drinks are acceptable?

Right. "Either". That's all.

With best wishes

Mrs Gobbledygook

16 July 2008