If you’re an English learner, there’s a good chance you’ve come across the words “either” and “ither.” They both sound similar, and they both have similar meanings – but they’re not the same word. In this post, we’ll teach you exactly how to choose between either or ither in your writing!
Is There A Difference Between Either or Ither?
Either & Ither are two words that are commonly confused by new writers, just like gooses or geese. Similar to the words Unto & Onto, these words are spelled just 1 letter apart. It is easy to see why they are often confused.
- Either – Can be used as both an adverb and a pronoun. When used as an adverb, it means “in addition,” “as well,” or “too.” When used as a pronoun, either means “one or the other,”
- Ither – Ither is a Scot word that has the same meaning as “either” or “other”. Ither is not considered a modern English word. This Scots word should only be used in the proper context.
Remember, just because something is considered a word in British English, does not mean it can be used in American English. There are many subtle grammar differences depending on where you are in the world! Context is always important when determining the definition and spelling of a word.
How To Use Either
As we mentioned, the word “either” can be used as an adverb or pronoun.
As an adverb, it means “also,” “too,” or “as well.”
- For example, you might say “I’m going to the store, and either you can come with me or you can stay here.”
As a pronoun, “either” means “one or the other,” usually when there are two choices.
- For example, you might say “Either option is fine with me.”
- “When it comes to word choice, either momma or mamma is totally fine by me.”
How To Use Ither
‘Ither’ is the Scottish form for ‘either’ and ‘other’. So, how do I use this word in a sentence?
Well, you can use it just like you would use ‘either’.
- For example, you could say “I can’t decide whether to have the haggis or the fish and chips; ‘ither‘ option sounds good to me.”
- When referring to a soccer match, “I am not a fan of ither side!”
This is prime example of descriptive grammar rules that are native to a specific location.
Either vs Ither – Memory Trick
Here is a quick trick to memorize this grammar rule. Memory tricks like this are how I master more rare or rarer and other tricky words! Remember this phrase:
- I know that ither is NOT a word!
What About Either and ether?
Writers also frequently confuse the terms either and ether. Ether is a clear sky above the clouds or liquid used as an industrial solvent.
- I don’t want to float up into the ether like a balloon.
- We were all lost souls in the ether until we found each other.
- The only way to reach the ether is by taking a leap of faith.
Just like we saw in our post about the meaning of stoked, spelling can make a huge difference. Either & ether have totally different meanings!
Frequently Asked Questions
Neither is the correct word. “I can’t wait either” means that you’re in the same situation as the other person – neither of you can wait. “Neither” means that you don’t want either of the things that are being offered to you.
NO you cannot say “me either” because it is grammatically incorrect. You should say “me neither” instead.
It depends on the context of the conversation. Either should be used to mean “also,” “too,” or “as well.” Ether should be used to refer to something up in the sky.
Any, each, or every are the most popular alternatives to the word ‘either’.
Yes, ‘ither’ is an acceptable Scrabble word. This is a scot word that has the same meaning as ‘either’.
The Bottom Line
The next time you are unsure of which word to use in a sentence, remember the difference between “either” and “ither.” You can use “either” in a few different ways such as when you have two options. Remember that “ither” is not a word in the modern English language, so make sure to use the correct word for your sentence. And if you need some extra help, try our free paper checker to review your grammar!