Conjunctions for alternative choices

In English grammar, coordinating conjunctions especially conjunctions for alternative choices are used to express a situation of two choices by using either or and neither nor. Herein, I’m going to describe contrast and similarity between two conjunctions– either or and neither nor conjunction for alternative choices.

Rules, and examples of conjunctions for alternative choices

Let’s see some useful rules and examples of either or and neither nor.

  1. Unlike either….or, neither…. nor has negative significance.
  2. . Or is generally used for positive choices; whereas, neither…. nor negative.
  3. Nevertheless, both are actively used to express or indicate choices between two options.
  4. Either…. Or is used to make positive decision regarding choices among two or more things, whereas neither…. .nor to make negative decision regarding choices.
  5. Choices may be nouns, adjectives, infinitives, or phrases. These are also used to join two independent clauses.
  6. Like either or, neither… nor is used as a paired conjunction.

Simple examples of conjunctions for alternative choices

  • If you have decided to purchase a bike, then you have to purchase either in EMI or with cash.
  • It is raining heavily ever since morning. So, neither Adam nor his father could go outside.

In both the sentences, either…or and neither nor are used in the middle of the sentence to express choices in the form of noun and noun phrases.

In the first example, either or is preceded noun phrase.

Whereas, in the second example, Adam and his father is preceded by neither nor.

  • Neither England nor Australia is ready to play the match with wet outfield.

In this sentence, unlike earlier one, neither nor is used to begin the sentence to make choices between two nouns.

  • Neither they go by bus nor would hire a taxi to visit park.
  • Neither he will win the match nor she let him to do so.

In both the examples, neither nor is used to begin sentences.

But, here the choices are expressed between two independent clauses.

While we use neither nor to express choices, comma isn’t necessary provided that pair of connection is used in the single sentence without full stop.

  • President Trump is going to participate in G20 neither to solve trade war deadlock nor to remove sanctions.

This example is the best epitome to express choices between two infinitives with either or.

Here, two infinitives are used after neither nor. One is ‘to solve trade war deadlock’ and other is, ‘to remove sanctions.’

  • Apples are neither cheap nor accessible for tropical countries.

This example is different from earlier. Here adjectives are used to indicate negative decisions in terms of choices.

  • Apple Company has decided neither to stay in China nor to go back US.

In this example also, infinitives are used to express choices.

  • Neither US nor China is going to benefit from the ongoing trade war.

Use of neither as a pronoun

So far, we have learnt about the neither nor pair as a conjunction. Apart from this, neither nor is also used as a pronoun, determiner, or adverb in the given sentence.

If you are going to use neither without or as a pronoun then the following structure becomes compulsory.

  • Neither of alternatives is useful in eradicating poverty.
  • Neither of teams is contender for the title.

In both examples “Of” is used in association with neither. It looks like compulsory. Yes, it is used with “Neither or either” to use as a pronoun.

This is all about the conjunctions for alternative choices. In the next blog, I will discuss Correlative conjunctions.

Correct use of “but” and “yet”

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