Either/Or: Use & Examples Video

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  • 0:19 Examples
  • 0:45 Either/Or By Themselves
  • 0:57 Subjects Joined By Either/Or
  • 1:45 Ultimatum
  • 2:00 Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Mary Firestone
Find out how to use 'either' and 'or' correctly. Learn how to avoid common mistakes with these two words. Read the lesson, and then take a quiz to test your new knowledge.

Either and Or: Correlative Coordinators

Either and or are correlative coordinators, which generally means that they coordinate parts of a sentence. When you use 'either,' you're offering the first alternative. When you add the word 'or,' you're declaring the other choice, or choices. Let's look at some example sentences using the words either and or.

Examples

You can either drive your car to the grocery store or ride your bike.

This sentence uses the words either and or to show the two alternatives for how you can get to the grocery store.

Let's look at another example.

You can either study at the library, your dorm, the student lounge, or a busy coffee shop.

When using several alternatives in an either/or sentence, place 'or' before the last one.

Using Either and Or by Themselves

You can use 'or' without 'either.' For example: I can wear this jacket or that coat.

You can also use 'either' without 'or.' For example: I didn't like that restaurant, either.

Subjects Joined by Either/Or

It's common for sentences to begin with two subjects that are joined by 'or' and 'either.' When deciding which verb to use, choose the one that agrees with the nearest subject. Let's look at some examples:

A driver's license or birth certificate was required for identification. The noun 'certificate' is closest to the verb, and it is singular. Therefore, we use the singular verb 'was'.

Let's look at another example.

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