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How to Use Either, Neither, Or, and Nor Correctly

 My mother seems to appreciate having a grammar lover in the family. For Christmas one year, she even bought me the book I Judge You When You Use Poor Grammar. (By the way, it is equally correct to say “bad grammar.”)

Last week, my mother emailed to ask if she was using the word “nor” correctly, which brings me to today’s post: the use of either, neither, and the connecting words that go with them.

Either/Or, Neither/Nor

First things first:

If you are matching either and nor, I hate to break it to you, but you’re doing it wrong.

Additionally, nor is generally not used where neither is not also used. Got enough negatives in there for you? Here’s an example:

“I fear man nor beast!” Jay proclaimed as Frank stared at the python coiled on the branch over his head. (Wrong.)

“I fear neither man nor beast!” Jay proclaimed as Frank stared at the python coiled on the branch over his head. (Right!)

Correct Use of Either

Either is used when you are making a comparison between two ideas, and only one of the ideas will come to pass. Example:

“Well,” said Frank, “either you start fearing, or you are camping by yourself.”

I-Judge-You-When-You-Use-Poor-GrammarCorrect Use of Neither

Neither indicates that the two ideas are linked together. It’s kind of like a negative conjunction. But if you use neither, then make sure your sentence does not have any other negatives preceding it. If you prefer to use a negative, then you want to use either.

Jay had seen neither the snake nor the wasp’s nest on the next tree, and was preparing to stake his tarp in that less-than-safe location.

Jay had not seen either the snake or the wasp’s nest on the next tree, and was preparing to stake his tarp in that less-than-safe location.

Hopefully you will never see a stray nor again.

Need more grammar help? After you master “neither nor” and “either or” in the practice section below, check out our tutorial Grammar 101. You too can become the person your friends turn to for grammar advice.

PRACTICE

Tell us about a disastrous camping trip. Use either/or and neither/nor to establish how much your characters would rather be anywhere but the African savanna/Arctic tundra/Griswold family camping trip.

Post your practice in the comments when you’re finished.

Thanks!

About Liz Bureman

Liz Bureman has a more-than-healthy interest in proper grammatical structure, accurate spelling, and the underappreciated semicolon. When she's not diagramming sentences and reading blogs about how terribly written the Twilight series is, she edits for the Write Practice, causes trouble in Denver, and plays guitar very slowly and poorly. You can follow her on Twitter (@epbure), where she tweets more about music of the mid-90s than writing.

  • First, I judge people with bad grammar and proofread stuff but then I re-read my own and shudder.

    Second, are there not exceptions when “nor” can be used without “neither” as long as the sentence is negative. For example, “She can’t ski nor can she ice skate.” Maybe that’s a bad example but I can’t think of a better one.

    Katie

    • True, Katie, you can use “nor” in conjunction with another negative. For example:

      I don’t like getting up early, nor do I like setting alarms.

      Generally it’s a judgment call by the writer/editor to decide which sounds better.

      • BC

        Liz Bureman,
        Thank you for your explanation the either…or conjunction. Now, I understand it.
        Bounthong Chanthavisouk

  • Marianne

    “I told you I should have stayed home. I hate camping and now I’m sick,” said Jenny to her husband.

    “You’re not sick Jenny, you’re just having a little allergic reaction to either something that we walked though today on the trail, or something you ate at the camper’s cantina.”

    “A little reaction, you call hives all over my body a little reaction? I hate this. I wish we’d either gone to New York, on gone on a cruise. Why did we have to do this? Don’t think we’re getting a camper like Tom and Rachel’s. I hate this and I never want to do it again,” she said and she began to cry.

    “Did you take some Benedryl?” said her husband.

    “Yes I took it a little while ago. You know that neither Tom nor Rachel have any kind of allergies. They can take this camping junk. You can take it. But I can’t.”

    “Okay I get it. We won’t do this again, but let’s try to enjoy it now. We’re going to cook steak and then maybe play either Trivial Pursuit or Scrabble or something. Is that doable?”

    “Yeah you can do that. I’m not. I don’t like either of those games, nor do I like steak.”

    “Fine then. I’ll go and represent our family.”

    “We need a family representative at a state campground? These aren’t our neighbors, they’re just people who happen to have their big fancy camper near our stupid tent. We aren’t obligated to them.”

    “So you don’t want me to go?”

    “You can go if you want. I might have a reaction to the Benadryl though. It can make people sleep walk. I would hate to walk away out her in the woods.”

    “Okay then Jenny, I’ll go and tell them that we can’t make it, and I’ll stay here with you. I can fan you so you don’t sweat away your Calamine Lotion. Tom and Rachel have AC in their camper.”

    Jenny thought about the AC. It was tempting. maybe steak and Scrabble were a good idea, but the Benadryl was kicking in and she felt her eyes closing. She tried to dream up another complaint, but she could neither keep her eyes open, nor head up. She felt herself falling in a heap on her cot. What a life, camping, yuck were her last thought before falling asleep.

    • Way to follow directions and put together a very fun piece, Marianne. This one was my favorite use of either / or, “We’re going to cook steak and then maybe play either Trivial Pursuit or Scrabble or something.” I think I liked it because of how funny it is to think of playing Trivial Pursuit, the most difficult game in the world in my opinion, on a camping trip.

      The only thing that would have made this better is if you ended it, “Either, ‘what a life,’ ‘camping,’ or ‘yuck’ was her last thought before falling asleep. She couldn’t tell. She was already gone.”

      Very entertaining, Marianne. Nice conflict and a good bit of sarcastic humor. I liked it.

      • Marianne

        Thanks Joe. I had fun writing that and it is really a fifteen minute one. I can write a lot more dialogue than description in fifteen minutes. Weird. I would think that it would be the other way around.

    • Good work. Sounds like my wife! I’m kidding, of course.

  • Maggie

    This post is real helpful. I’m always making sure I’m using proper grammer. Just because it sounds right doesn’t mean it is. There, their and they’re is also often used incorrectly.

    • Thanks Maggie. It’s funny, Liz wrote about that last week. Check it:

      thewritepractice.com/never-confuse-there-their-and-theyre-again

    • Kumi

      Cant nor be used independent of neither when constructing a compound sentence for instance using fanboys?

  • Stefanie Jones

    This post is timed perfectly, since there’s been a question on “either” here at work. Is it proper to say “Me neither” or “Me either”? (In response, for instance, to: “I don’t like cockroaches.”) Eh?

    • Oooh, a good question. In informal spoken English, you really can use either one.

      Personally, I prefer “me neither” because it reinforces the negative that the speaker is expressing (and because you don’t have that awkward double vowel sound). But if you’re in Australia or the UK, “me either” might be more common.

      • I had a question in relation to this as well. The usage of “Either way…” or “Neither of them…” I tend to use “Either way” quite a bit. I also tend to use “quite a bit” quite a bit. Any suggestions? That’s the beauty of a limited vocabulary, I suppose.

  • Stewart

    “You have fifteen minutes.” said the doctor. I could see he was upset. He is an organized man and likes neither surprises nor unscheduled visits from patients. But I had to get this off my chest.

    “Thanks for seeing me.” I said.

    “What’s on your mind?”

    “I had that dream again. The one with the empty house across the street.”

    “Yes. What did you see?” He asked while jotting on his note pad.

    “The lights. The lights were on in the upstairs bedroom.”

    “Hmm. This is new.”

    I have the same recurring dream of the house. In reality the house sits vacant. Nobody has lived there for month’s. No one even visits the house. There is not even a for sale sign in the yard. The lawn is in disarray and the shrubs have grown up over the front porch. The lack of attention to the house makes it stick out like a sore thumb. The neighbors hate it and none of their kids will go near it. None of us know why it still sits vacant. It’s either the economy or simple lack of interest. In my dream, the house is normally dark and empty but this time it showed signs of life.

    “What did you do in the dream?” he responds.

    “The same thing as always. I walked across the street to see if anyone was there.”

    In my dream, it played out like a scene from a horror movie. The air is cold and moist. There isn’t much sound. I can hear the wind blowing but I can neither feel it nor see the effects of it in the tree’s. I walk across my lawn and stop under the streetlight. The moon is covered by clouds and the streetlight is the only source of light, other than the window.

    “But this time I think I saw someone moving behind the curtains.” I continued.

    As always, in my dream, I walk up the empty drive way until I get to the stairs that leads up to the front door, my eyes never leaving the movement in the window. The stairs are cracked and warped. They squeak and groan when I step on them. They are either old or neglected. Probably both.

    “And how did you feel?”

    I swallowed hard. “I… I felt afraid.”

    I usually stand on the front porch, away from the door but this time I found myself facing the door with my hand raised, ready to knock.

    The doctor leaned in a little and stared at me over his bifocals.

    “What made you afraid Frank?”

    “The unknown I guess. I think somebody was in the house this time.”

    I couldn’t move as I stood at the door. My arm could neither knock nor drop back down to my side. I was frozen. Then the upstairs light went off.

    I hear footsteps. They are loud and make a thud with each step. Slowly, the footsteps get louder. I can hear them coming down the stairs in the house. They are getting closer.

    “What happened next?” the doctor asked as he wrote more vigorously on his note pad. “What was your reaction?”

    “I waited.”

    I had to make a decision. I either run or face what is about to come from behind that door. I slowly move backwards. I take slow, tiny steps until I feel my heels drop slightly from the edge of the porch. The footsteps stop just inside the door, only a few feet away from me. I hear the locks on the door disengage and the door knob starts to turn.

    The doctor has my complete attention now. “What came through the door Frank?”

    The door opens slowly and it reveals something I never expected. I was neither ready nor prepared for what stood in the threshold.

    “Doctor, It was…”

    The phone rang suddenly, breaking my train of thought. The doctor ignored it for a second but reluctantly answered it.

    “Okay, Okay send her in.” he said softly to his receptionist.

    “Frank. Your fifteen minutes is up.” He thumbed through his date book. ” I will see you next Thursday. Jenny will validate your parking.” he said as he raised his hand towards the door.

    • What was it?! What was it?! Great job keeping my attention. Well played.

    • Wow. Nice Stewart. Not exactly about a camping trip, but you really load up the suspense. I like it.

    • Marianne

      I like the fifteen minutes is up. The fifteen minute thing is like our exercises here , you get started and then have to stop. The setting is really eerie. When you write he can hear the wind ,but not see or feel it, it just gave me the creeps.

    • Stewart

      Sorry for not following directions. I’m not sure why I didn’t see the part about camping. Thanks for the compliments.

      • No problem, Stewart. Just makes things easier. I’m sort of glad you didn’t follow the directions because you wrote this thriller of a piece.

    • claudy

      Although you have an interesting concept, I recommend to be cautious in switching between 1st and 3rd person. It seems that you focus your story in 1st person yet put quotations marks when the narrator talks. Also, using more actions than helping verbs will help your story seem more alive. Nonetheless, it has potential to become a good piece. Best wishes.

  • Cynthia Hartwig

    Liz, I like the connection between you & your mom that makes a grammar post more personal. Good copywriting strategy to personalize and connect people to the Copy Queen who’s writing.

  • Alright. About 17 minutes. Here it is:

    ……

    Savanna reached into her purse and pulled out the lip balm. Her hands trembled. “This has to be the most disastrous camping trip of our lives,” she said. “Who the hell plans a trip to Greenland in the middle of winter? Wait, I take that back. Who plans a trip to Greenland period?”

    He stopped walking. He turned just slightly to his left where she was standing and looked at her as she stood, smearing lip balm frantically across her face.

    “If you would’ve just listened to me and stopped when I suggested,” she said, “then we wouldn’t be in mess, would we?”

    “Well, if you could just shut up for more than 5 seconds…” he thought.

    “I love you too, Savanna,” he said.

    He started walking again but he pace slower than earlier. She didn’t move. She moved one arm across the other and looked straight as he kept moving.

    “Can’t you just apologize for once?” she yelled.

    He turned around and faced her and started walking backward and said, “Apologize for what exactly? For trying to have a great vacation with my wife? For taking time off work and planning for weeks to have some alone time with you? It was either Greenland or Hawaii. I figured since we’ve been to Hawaii like six times, you’d want to do something different. So, please, feel free to tell me.”

    He stopped. She looked down and then starting moving slowly in his direction.

    “I’m sorry,” she said. “Who would want to go to Hawaii, right? Instead, I’d rather be here with you. Freezing to death. And with a car – a brand new car, mind you – that doesn’t even start because you slammed into the side of a tree in the middle of Nowhere, Greenland!”

    He dropped his head and smiled and waited for her to reach him.

    “It’s alright,” he said, “I forgive you.”

    • Hey Bo. Great scene!

      I like the distance between what he thinks and what he says here, ““Well, if you could just shut up for more than 5 seconds…” he thought. “I love you too, Savanna,” he said.

      And that ending! I love how you reveal what happened and why she’s so mad right at the end of the scene. Plus, Savanna is delightfully sarcastic.

      Nicely done, sir.

      • Thanks Joe! This was a fun one. I tried imagining my wife in a situation like that. She has a way with words. 🙂

        • I read an article about Greenland in National Geographic recently. Apparently their thrilled with the prospect of global warming because it might make their island more habitable.

          • Ha! That’ll be the day. The only thing I know about Greenland is from one of my high school teachers. He said “Greenland should’ve been named Iceland and Iceland should’ve been named Greenland.” Apparently someone made a mistake somewhere.

          • It’s true! But Iceland was named by the Vikings to discourage people from moving there. They didn’t want to let on that it was awesome. And Greenland was the opposite. It was named by a guy who was exiled (if I remember correctly). He was hoping to attract a few more friends.

          • Maybe that’s the reason why he was exiled. Cause he was an idiot. 🙂

    • Maeianne

      That’s funny! If my husband even thought about a Greenland vacation I’d have him committed . Good writing IMO.

      • Thanks! I tried to stay within the rules so I chose Greenland as part of the Arctic tundra. Not my first choice. Heck, not my second choice either.

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  • Carla Cruz

    One of the issues I often find confusing. Thanks for clearing it up!

  • Deissinger

    I understand the either– or concepts. Separate ideas—right? What if a math question  uses either and or in a question? For example, my students need to look at a bar graph  to answer questions and one of the questions read as follows: How many students like either yellow, green, or purple? My understanding of the question means I should separate each color with the corresponding number on the graph. However, the answer was the total number of the three colors. It seems to me the wording of the math question could mislead the students. What do you think?

    • Corey Comment

      Not only is the question misleading, but the total number of the three colors would be a wrong answer based upon the wording of the question. A way to state the question that would make the total number of the three colors correct: What is the total number of students who like either yellow, green or purple?

  • shelly

    Well, thanks, could you tell me as I remember learning a long ago that when we use neither nor we kinda make sentnces like this: neither he called, nor did he write back. Is is correct ? thanks.

    • epbure

      It’s almost correct! You want to restructure the sentence so that the subject (he) is before the neither. Generally it’s also a good rule of thumb to structure the phrases after the neither and nor similarly. Since the subject is already used before the neither, you can just use the verbs after the neither-nor (he neither called nor wrote back).

  • Hind

    it’s clear now , but can u give me another examples for * Neither *

  • SalJad

    What about when the combination of neither-nor begins a sentence?

    • Peggie

      I’d also like to see an answer to this question.

    • CollinPhallus

      ???

      Neither Jackie nor Sandy were able to help their friend Kim solving her problem.

      • bix12

        Neither Jackie nor Sandy were able to help their friend Kim solve her problem. Neither Jackie nor Sandy were able to help their friends Kim or Carol solve either of their problems.

        • Paul

          Hello, can I say:
          I have not seen that boy. Neither at home nor at school.

          • Doris

            I might write that up and see if it works.

      • Paul

        Hi, I have a question: Can I say:

        I have not seen that boy. Neither at home nor at school.

        • Sue

          “Neither at home nor at school” is not a complete sentence. I have seen that boy neither at home nor at school. I have not seen that boy either at home or at school.

      • Doris

        that is perfect.

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  • Layla

    Is this correct?
    ”I refuse to answer, nor talk about this matter with you.”

  • The Camping Trip from Hell.

    Years ago while still at university a friend invited me on a camping trip. I have never been on a camping trip before and did not know what to expect. The bus was late leaving campus and we arrived five minutes last check-in time. Neither the guy, who was still busy padlocking the gate, nor the camp manager would let us in. ‘The rules are the rules.’ He said.

    After the dreary bus ride and now we had to camp in front of the gate too, and next to the side of a busy road. We did not have tents, as this was hiking trip from camp to camp in the bush veld, South African style. Lions will eat you otherwise, not true, but there are creepy crawlies that will.

    The only time you are able to hike in the bush is in winter. Either you die from heat exhaustion or freeze to death at night, your choice. Guess what? That night we slept outside in our sleeping bags in nearly freezing temperatures. I remember I put on all my clothes and kept my shoes on. A bad idea as feet swell at night and it was nearly impossible to sleep. Before you ask; ‘Why didn’t you cuddle up?’. Well, I’m from a strict Afrikaans family, my dad would have killed me. Those were the days. The mere thought was enough to make me chose to freeze my ass off rather than cuddle with a boy. The friend was not my boyfriend at that time, and even if he was, I still would not have climbed with him into his sleeping bag.

    The next two days was not much better. To my horror we marched 15 miles a day, to get to the next overnight huts in time. No time to stop and take in the pretty views. I was past caring anyway. I marched on.

    The camping trip from hell was the first and the last one, I have ever undertaken. Either I ‘camp’ on Mojito, my boat, or in a hotel. Camping is not for me, pretty as the bush veld in Africa may be.

  • akomei

    Is this correct? with the use of “wouldn’t” being a negative, would “nor” work in the subsequent part of the sentence?

    “I wouldn’t like that either, and nor would I like to see that happen.”

  • danny

    “People have long been divided into dog-lovers and cat-lovers, although I should add that for many people neither animal inspires much emotion either way.” is this correct?

  • Curtis Bell

    I had a question. Which one is correct?

    Neither you, nor I, know what is going on.

    Or

    Neither you, nor I, knows what is going on.

    And why?

    Thank you

    • Neither you, nor I, know what is going on.

      Why? If you took out the neither, making it, “You and I don’t know what is going on.” Knows sounds weird.

      • Guest

        But it says on the rule: Two singular subjects connected by or or nor require a singular verb.

        Gosh, this makes me confuse. 🙁

        • Steff

          But it works similarly like both. When you use both, it will be : both A and B are great. Thus, in using neither : neither A not B are great.

        • Arun

          What if one between the two subjects is plural ?
          Say for examle,
          Neither them nor I
          or
          Neither I nor them

          In such cases,
          what will the verb form ? Whether singular or plural ?

          • Catherine

            Both wrong. Should be either ‘Neither them nor me’ or ‘Neither I nor they’ (but I expect some would insist on ‘Neither they nor I’ for the second one). In the first one the verb form depends on the subject, not ‘them/me’; in the second there is no 3rd pers sing subject so ‘have’.

        • Just a Guest

          I think the verb agrees with the subject (I know, you know). If it were she/he, one would use “knows”.

  • guest

    The tone in this sentence is neither very
    positive nor very negative.

  • Kristian

    Hi! How are you? Can you help me with this? I don’t know if it’s right: “You don’t have either money or a job”….”You have neither money nor a job”. Thank you 🙂

  • Cristiana

    Please, is this sentence correct?
    “It’s not allowed nor is it kind of you to…”

    Thank you!

  • ML

    What about this – neither of you is … or neither of you are … `- is it IS or ARE??

    • Garth

      It’s ‘is’. Both ‘either’ and ‘neither’ are singular and require a singular form of the verb in the sentence that follows. For example, ‘either IS correct’, or ‘neither is correct.

    • Harvey

      I think the following is correct” Neither my parents nor my son is here.”
      or “Neither my son nor my parents are here.” ,,, but the former doesn’t sound right.
      The verb uses the subject closest to it.

  • Jennifer

    I couldn’t help but notice that you made a grammatical error in your article. “You’re doing it wrongLY”, not “you’re doing it wrong.” Adjectives (e.g. “wrong”) describe nouns, while adverbs (e.g. “wrongly”) describe verbs (e.g. “doing”).

    • Ged

      that would certainly be the case if the word “wrongly” existed.

      • Richard

        why you’re doing it very badly. You’re doing the wrong way. You’re fucking it. You’re actually doing it like shit.

      • Kat

        “wrongly identified”, “wrongly calibrated”, but yes, not often seen outside of compounds…

        • izoe01

          I think you mean “wrongfully”.

      • Terry Christensen

        Wrongly accused

    • khadi2015

      I am sorry to say that you are wrong here. When you use the adjective “wrong” after a predicate, it is considered an adverb.

  • Rose

    Why isn’t neither nor considered a double negative?

  • Erin

    So when someone says “I cannot imagine my life without you”, how should I respond? Me either? Me neither? Something totally different? How do I pair “or” or “nor” with that?

    • Guest

      How about “Me, too”. Less complicated. 🙂

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  • Arabenglish

    I have noticed recently that the advertisement to turn off your cellphone before a movie may have a grammar mistake and I wanted to figure it out once and for all. The advertisement says “This is not the time nor place.” Is it correct? I believe not.

    • Alice Snow

      Please, please, please answer this. I’m scouring the internet in search of the answer to this because it drives me crazy every. Single. Time. If I’m going to be that irritating grammar geek that emails the theater, I want to make sure I’m correct. Century Theatres/Cinemark, the advertisement in question can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kgU2ue37hgY

    • Stefanie Xuning Zou

      According to the rule of using “either” when you already have a negative in the sentence like “not”, I believe it should be “or”. You are correct, the advertisement is wrong! Please confirm this Joe? Brilliant article!! This is always the one place I have to stop and hesitate when writing a sentence!! Its so bothersome but you have really clarified it for me!

  • Joel Redbeard Ricklefs

    Thanks for the clarification

  • avidreader

    What about this sentence: “He neither has nor will accept your terms.” please tell me why it is right or wrong. thanks.

  • jason

    Throw in some ellipses with appropriate context, and you can pair either/nor if you want…

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  • Peggie

    Thank you SO very much! No english professor has ever put it more simply. This really helped me. I am neither displeased nor frustrated with this tutorial. I’m not either disappointed or ignorant of how to use these words any longer. 🙂 -Peggie

  • Trunkce

    what kind of verb will be used if article occurs with both singular and plural noun in such sentences

  • zeus

    Thanks a lot for helpful tips about either and neither. I something also get mistake with either and neither. Since I read this topic, I can distinguish how to use either and neither.

  • bootsie

    🙂 I was using it correctly! 🙂 Thank you

  • Rachel

    It’s not like you liked me neither

  • this is cool. thanks c u n t

  • Maicol

    is this construction correct : “I realize that not everyone learns at the same speed neither they do with the same methodologies”

    • I don’t think so. Try, “I realize that not everyone learns at the same speed or with the same methodologies.”

  • Love

    can we have either, or, or?

  • hesham

    Neither bill nor david will go to the trip

  • Madguru

    “To the one who professes to love me and never leave me:You are not the first nor will be the last to say so.” Is this correct?

  • cynthia334

    thanks to everyone commenting and also to the organizers of this site because this has helped my marriage, I can’t believe my husband changed just as he promised, so i must testify too. I was having troubles in my marriage and i was almost giving up because my partner wouldn’t find anything good in me anymore and it looked like we were not meant to be because he hardly talk to me or even touches me . Out of frustration i came online to see if there’s anything i can do to help my situation and last week I saw a post on how a lady saved her marriage through the help of a great man and i decided to try him because i was going through hell as me and my husband were like neighbors under the same roof . i contacted him as the testifier gave away his email and the man said he could help me. i thought maybe it will take a long time but within 48 hours after he finished his work my husband came home apologizing for the way he hurt me something he would never do normally even if it was obvious he was wrong. seriously i have nothing more to say other than thank you great man. if your marriage is failing or its a mess and you want to save it please don’t give up this really works out here is the email i used to contact him i am sure he can help prophet.briancarn@yahoo.com of a truth he really helps again his email his prophet.briancarn@yahoo.com

  • Kyla Alyssa Samia

    Either and or: You either stay there or join with us.
    Neither and nor: ( i still don’t get it?)
    Please help me 🙁

    • Kat

      Either…or = choice between two options.
      Neither…nor = two options that are not possible/cannot happen.

      E.g., You can stay there. You can join us. –> You can either stay there or join us.

      You can’t go home. You can’t travel anywhere else. –> You can neither go home nor travel anywhere else.

  • Sergiy Zed

    A brilliant post! There is a book in which you can find this case looked at a different angle: ‘Most common mistakes non-native speakers of English make’. http://www.amazon.com/Common-Mistakes-Non-Native-Speakers-English-ebook/dp/B00MFQVTDE

  • ChasMick

    “Well,” said Frank, “ you either start fearing, or you are camping by yourself.”

  • lisette

    I understand the difference between either and neither now, thanks. There’s still something that confuses me though. English is my 2nd language so i don’t know if this is a dumb question haha. Either or neither at the end of a sentence confuses me often. For example: ‘I don’t like cats either’ is that the correct use of either or do i have to say ‘i don’t like cats neither’ or are both wrong?
    Thanks, Lisette

    • Ghazwan Eid

      i am studying English and i think “I dont like cats either or neither” depends on what was said before that sentence !! Am i wrong?

      • Natalie Vlasenko

        We can’t use “NEITHER” in case we have negatives in sentences (not like). Thus, the most appropriate variant is “I don’t like cats EITHER.”BTW, it was mentioned in this article.

  • Alfonso

    …And if I have to say more than two things?
    For example:
    I don’t know either italian, or spanish, or english…
    Is it OK?
    (I’m a student of English, excuseme my mistakes)

    • Kat

      Either is only used for two options, as far as I know, so you would take it out and just write “I don’t know Italian, Spanish, or English” (don’t forget your capitals). When speaking, we can hear “either” used in longer lists, but it’s usually because the later options are afterthoughts…

      Or you can extend the list with a “neither”, e.g., “I don’t know either Italian or Spanish, neither do I know English…”

  • HaveMercyOnUs

    Not sure if this is site is still active. But I do have a question I am hoping you can assist with. I was taught the words “and” and “also” never go together. It is redundant. Yet I hear it being used constantly. Everyone from the president to the news media to teachers and everyday people. Was I taught incorrectly? Or perhaps, the rule changed? It doesn’t even sound proper to me. Thank you in advance for your response. Claire

  • Santo Hermano Nacho Bermudez

    But as you are neither one nor the other, i hope you understand.

  • jusr

    is it ok?neither i want to misunderstand nor be misunderstood nor get hurt

  • sain

    neither i want to misunderstand nor be misunderstood nor get hurt . (is it correct?)

    • Rawa

      NO , but not so wrong ,, small thing to get it right is adding (To) in-front of the second and third sentence’s verbs

      Neither i want to misunderstand nor to be misunderstood nor to get hurt
      but still it seems a little uncommon , after all its three sentence in one

  • Agape

    No, it’s wrong. It should be “we are neither rich nor poor ……”

  • Rawa

    I don’t have anything either in mind witnessed by myself neither a story i read to tell about , Either way I wanted to write something , if either its right or its wrong I wont be disappointed as I haven’t studied English for 3 years nor did I take a course to revise my language skill , I just hope you have read this far ,and if possible ,either tell me about mistakes I made or give me tips to increase my grammar skill , anyhow thanks so much for this extra information Which I neither did know for sure nor did I read it from any text books I had about English grammar , THANKS

  • Rawa

    You can also say , Neither Do i like cats ,,,,,Which basically turns to —– I do (NOT) like cats either —-((Remember Neither is a combination of (NOT and Either) ,,,also if neither is used before the subject and verb , then they change their places , although Its my second language i really love English grammar ,

  • Shalih D. F.

    What about this sentence: “I don’t like Ricky because of his rudeness neither of his word.” Is this grammatically correct for the use of neither?

  • Andrew Beasley-Murray

    I had neither studied about how I should adjust the ropes holding up a tent nor had I anticipated that ( not having done my homework treating this matter), the tent in question would actually be lying on us the next morning as opposed to being arched above us

  • Kat

    The sentence sounds fine to me, only the introductory conjunction should read “In both cases” or simply “Either way”.

    I would also take out the “only” and copy the structure in the first section, giving “nor is a high degree of input inclusivity alone enough to prevent setbacks.”

  • Simon Ayres

    Neither and either are implicit of only 2 things being listed nor is also used to fallow not when more than 2 things are listed.

    E.G. it is not thing 1, thing 2 nor thing 3

    Or I could be completely wrong

  • hainon

    mga baliw kayo
    hahahahah joke……….

  • Alan Floyd

    Thank you. I’ve been doing it wrong. My mathematical and computer programming brain has led me astray until now. I always viewed it as a parenthetical expression. I assumed using “neither” made both values negative so no need for “nor”. Unfortunately, due to this reasoning I couldn’t figure out HOW to use “nor” correctly. Lol

  • Wendifer

    Please assist with this sentence, “He smiles and shows us in, even though he had never made the acquaintance of either one of us.” Is it correct?

  • Phil

    Actually poor grammar and bad grammar are different. Bad relates to your skill and poor relates to your effort.

    Consider:
    “I am a bad tennis player. I always lose.”
    “I am a good tennis player but today I lost because I played poorly.”

  • Jose Luis Loren

    Thank you for the explanation. It has been very useful 🙂

  • Nita Couch

    This was our first vacation as a young family with a couple of small children. Our plans were to go camping around one of the lakes in south Missouri.

    The first lake we found was completely full. No camping sites were available. The only thing we could do was either go to a motel or go back home.

    We finally found a camp site, but the weather was threatening our plans. We had not bought a tent yet figuring we could find a store that would sell tents. We drove until we were sheer exhausted. We were getting frustrated and could not find the solution to our shelter from the rain.

    We came across a small store that did not offer us a tent but a plastic drop cloth. Since it was getting so late and the rain was approaching rapidly we decided we would make that work and then go find a tent in the morning.

    We strung the drop cloth so as to offer the best possible protection from the conditions. As we all snuggled in and went to sleep, we could hear the rain on the plastic. When we woke up the next morning we had huge spots that had filled with water and were sagging close to the ground but the rain had stopped. We cautiously crept out from under the sagging makeshift tent just in time for it to give way and flood all of our quilts, blankets, and food supplies.

    We never did take a vacation of camping again.

  • Brenna Smith

    What if you are saying something like “me either”, would it be said like that, or would it be said like “me neither” ?

  • Duck Poo

    Neither are any of your previous mistakes acceptable. – or

    Nor are any of your previous mistakes acceptable. ?

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  • Johannes Laryea

    It was late in the morning when Sally and her friend decided to go for a camping trip, on their way going it happened that is either Sally sit next to the driver or drive her self. Suddenly a huge fall of a rock crashed the car, now there was a laud noise in the car saying ‘help’ but no one could hear them and Sally manege to get out of the car although she is injured, she tried to helping her friends also to get out till she had a chance of getting Tim out, Tim also try to help some friend out but neither Tim nor Sally were able to help their friends out ….

  • Frooble Rippers

    I HATE to point this out but it’s “First thing’s first….” 😉

  • LaCresha Lawson

    Wow. I did not know……thank you….

  • Morqois

    Sally stared out the tinted
    window of the family SUV, into the dull grey skies that lurked above. In a few
    short minutes, they will arrive at the Griswold camping grounds.

    Sally attempted to stretch out
    her cramped arms in the utterly packed vehicle. To no surprise, the car had hit
    a bump at the same time she started stretching, and her head bonked off of the
    hard handle just above the window. Sally shook her head in disbelief and looked
    at the handle with a questioned expression. She didn’t know why that thing was
    even there.

    They arrived at the Griswold
    camping grounds. Her father and little brother excitedly leaped out of the car
    filled with joy. Sally had neither moved from her seat, nor released the seatbelt.
    She just wanted to be home.

    The campgrounds looked grim, to
    no surprise. Her father is never willing to fork out a dime for quality family
    time. Sally finally releases the seatbelt after a few minutes of her little
    brother smacking on the window telling her to come out. The worst part about
    this, Sally thought, was that her dad will either fry up worms or cook small
    animals like last time. The thought turned Sally’s stomach.

    Sally stepped out of the SUV and
    she tripped on a piece of metal sticking out above the wheel well. She fell to
    the ground and her knees looked as red as a tomato. Her brother began laughing
    at her and shouting taunts and things of the sort.

    She walked over to her dad and
    asked for the first aid kit. He scratches his head and says, I forgot it. He
    then began unpacking their things from the car. Sally stormed away from the two
    fools and sat down under a very tall tree a fair distance away, clutching her
    shins. As soon as she sat down, an apple fell straight down on her head. A
    clear bump began to form on the top of her head.

    Sally was unhappy about this but
    this wasn’t the least of her worries. She needed a new tampon. She rushed to
    the SUV and began frantically looking for her big green backpack. It wasn’t
    there.

  • Ricardo Z

    Thanks a lot for this post, it has been really helpful since English is not my native language.

  • Terry Christensen

    I’m on the fence with Ben; he’s neither excited nor
    displeased with the software.

    • Correct, except what is he if neither of those?

      • Big G

        Nonplussed?!

  • Beauty

    How about this sentence “I neither want to get hurt nor lose you.” ? Is it correct? 🙂

  • B. Alvn

    How about replacing “either” at the end of sentence like:

    Bring no guns nor knives, neither.

    • “Bring no guns,” on it’s own doesn’t sound right to me. “Do not bring guns,” is what I would say. Or, “Bring neither guns nor knives.” no/nor/neither is overkill.

  • Mike

    Is neither…nor singular or plural? In other words, which is correct:
    Neither Jim nor his friend are going to the party.
    Neither Jim nor his friend is going to the party.

    • Claudia

      I think your first example is correct. “Neither Jim nor his friend are going to the party.” The word neither can be paired with nor in a sentence but it can never be paired with or. The word either means one or the other but not both.

  • Kimberly

    How do you agree with someone using “me neither or me either”? What is the difference?

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  • Kathryn VanWyhe

    Merry Christmas darling! You get to spend a week alone with your insane grandparents and adolescent brother at the Griswold family cabin, good luck! That is what it sounded like when my parents told me they wanted a week of alone time over Christmas. They left yesterday and I am already losing my mind. In the single night I have already been forced to explain what GPS stood for and that it is neither Grand-Parent Survival kit nor Government Persuading Surveillance. After several attempts to pry it open to find the kit and trying to find the camera because of some ‘hold-up from all of those years back’ they realized we were present in the vehicle. They shared a shaky smile and started driving.

    After two hours of my brother’s screaming that he wants to eat or a Ferrari for his birthday I punched him in the shoulder. That shut him up but the Grand Parents starting scaring me. They began giving advice on how to throw a good punch.

    “Now sweetie, when attacking someone who is weaker then you anywhere is fine to hit. I prefer the jugular myself but f you find the shoulder is adequate that is fine,” Then my Grandma showed what she meant by punching my brother’s stuffed animal in the face, The head ripped off.

    This shut both my brother and I up, we just witnessed an act of a crazy woman that we would be forced to spend the next six days with. Then I remembered something my Parents had said before they left, ‘Either you listen to them or you are grounded’. I was thinking about taking the latter and running away from this freak show and go home.

    (Did I use Neither and either correctly? Thank you for the great post!)

  • Toha hashemi

    (Correct the sentences)
    *Either of the three will do.
    *Neither of them,strong though they seem to be,were able lift the Wright.
    *He is fond of vegetable.
    *He gave me goodbye.
    *I am accustomed with hot weather.
    *The book is belonged to me.
    *Today’s climate is very dry.
    *He spoke a lie and said me a liar.
    *We write by pen.
    *Always speak truth.
    *My brother is M.A.
    *Can you tell me what is a camel?
    *He gone false witness.
    *English is not easy to be learnt.
    The man has resigned from the poor.
    The boy is imaginary by nature.

  • JOEPH P

    Neither I asked nor he told me where I’m going

  • Liz, it’s a pleasure to join this discussion and so, here’s my question. I thought upon this sentence while collecting plastic litter from a beach in NE Spain, and I’m thinking of carrying out a campaign using it…’You no longer need it, our beaches either’…Would that be correct? I know, from teaching experience and, what you’ve written here so well, as having to ‘pair up’ ‘either’ with ‘or’, being a correlative conjunction and all, but….? Thank you for your help!

  • John Thomson

    Neither the Republicans nor the Democrats could put Humpty Dumpty together again.

  • Sudhir

    “MAX is neither inwarding material from godown nor
    giving any confirmation nor even entertaining our mails and calls.”

    Is this correct sentence. use of neither – nor.

  • Aly

    Thank you! This article was helpful. I never knew neither and nor, and either and or were linked together.

  • Cauê Moraes

    Grasslike herbs have sprouted bumpily on our stonen islet as a gigantic, maroon fur garment of a gray colossus. Across icy, blue waters snowy lands laid upon the sea-line. Everything was going pretty well for a family trip. To be taken away from Uncle John’s cozy music studio and brought into freezing wildernesses to die frozen like a prehistoric iceman wasn’t exactly my favorite vacation concept. ”Lets shake this wasteland!” I told Uncle John and uncased the portable DJ equipment. Grandma was not very fond of thug life beats so I chose 60’s love songs instead. Either the music mingled some loving chemistry in the air, or it was mating time; since a whopping polar bear sprang up from the sea and began to couple with Dad’s boat. We kinda got that Animal Planet feeling and started recording the wild sighting. After a while both lovers left floating away with all our food, tents and gears. We almost froze to death for 12 hours before a fishing boat rescue us. Nowadays, I can eye neither antarctic tundra landscapes nor horny polar bears otherwise I start to tremble uncontrollably.

    • Dina

      Hey Cauê Moraes, for the most part I liked it; but the very first sentence was a bit hard to grasp/ imagine as well as the last sentence. I think maybe you should have used a preceding negative and either and or; only because I don’t think it’s grammatically correct to use “eye” like that (as a verb). Maybe you should have used “look at” instead.

      • Cauê Moraes

        Hey Dina, really thanks for the reply. I really traveled on ideas at that first sentence xDDD. I looked at the dictionary and eye can be used as a verb. Thanks again for the reply and a hug xDDD.

    • marilyn mccormick

      I like your description of “both lovers” in describing the polar bear and the boat floating off together. Clever.

  • Dina

    The Arctic Tundra!

    Really.
    I felt a shiver rake through my body. I heard that Ucratsians got wrinkles and that awful droopy skin from frowning and I had promised myself that I’d try to smile or at least not pout; but Here! In this desolate and freezing terrain where not even the poor excuses for vegetation or the sun seemed to want to be, I couldn’t help it. I was so sure. I wasn’t only frowning, I was scowling too. My sister put her hand around me, already, her bare hand seeming to conduct heat (from where I couldn’t phantom). I looked toward my mother, more certain than ever that I would hate her forever. Neither Tsarah nor my father could convince me differently this time. The lack of heat didn’t bother my mother as much. She wore some flowery dress and held her face in that intrigued and thoughtful manner towards the snow capped mountains. Sigh, when I was younger, about Illyanna’s age (The bony, timid, white blond creature that was wrapped in brown bear fur and playing in the black, chilled grainy earth just a few feet in front, that resembled my older sister far too much for my comfort); I had liked my mother’s frequent trips around Ucratsia and even crossing non-Ucratsian borders, all for the sake of art. I had liked drawing all the different landscapes with her. But I had grown up and the arctic was no place for a grown Mouralian ( half- Mouralian). Why couldn’t we stay in Cannolia where it was hot all year round. Why did she have to drag is here on a whim, to some cold, desolute… tundra! While we stood out like prey for wild, uncivilised Relic, just waiting for the mentally deficient or plain silly ( like my mother) to drag her children on some camping trip, that was neither as fun nor as educational as my father had said when I first complained; to be either drained till our fiery hearts stopped beating or worse, used to light their homes.

  • Mariam

    You will have neither coffee neither tea Ms. Baker? Wow, it seems like you are losing weight. Well with all of those oranges falling off of the tree now that the season is bursting with rain and sunshine you will be healthier than a horse!

  • Finrod

    What if instead of “neither” you do use a different negative, but would still like to use “nor”, does that work?
    I.e.: “He does not have time to go to school, nor is able to accomplish simple everyday tasks.”

  • Fabrice

    Neither will go to the movies without my permission or I would be mad if one did
    Either will go to the movies without my permission, nor I would be mad if both did

  • Fabrice

    Rules of grammar are always exceptionally overruled, to be perfectly correct.

  • Big G

    You could either say; “I don’t like cats either.”, or;
    “Neither do I.”.

  • Tanmay Setia

    What should be used in the following: (neither/nor)
    “I am not taking tea.”
    “(NEITHER/NOR?) am I.”
    TIA

  • Roksolana

    Is my sentence correct : I guess it’s up to me either to speak or send you to hell.

  • Emily

    My question is, in this sentence: “Jay had not seen either the snake or the wasp’s nest on the next tree, and was preparing to stake his tarp in that less-than-safe location,” why do we even need “either”? If you remove it, it doesn’t change the meaning, so it seems superfluous.

  • The mad blogger

    The trip was a bad idea. I’d known this the moment I’d opened my eyes that morning, and my stomach seemed to be missing.

    I was sick as a dog. The nausea was otherworldly, evil, and seemed sent straight from the bowels of hell specifically to torture me the morning of the camping trip. I didn’t want to get out of bed, let alone get in a van for hours of jostling around the mountains. But I’d spent so long planning it with my girl scout troupe, I hated to let them down. I was one of the older girls with more responsibilities. I’d have to ignore the new construction of purgatory going on inside and soldier on.

    I took along several remedies, but nothing worked. I either felt like throwing up till I turned inside-out, or stabbing myself to distract from the wicked, wicked pain. I cursed my doctor for talking me into taking birth control, as it didn’t seem to be preventing what I had decided was the imminent birth of the Antichrist.

    We finally made it to the camping ground, where I was soon to curse another doctor. One of the dads in the troupe always volunteered to come along and render his services as an ER physician in case someone fell and broke a leg or something. In my now dazed mind, he was to be my salvation. Surely he’d have pepto-bismol, or Dramamine, or, hell, I’d have happily taken poison at that point. He’d have wonderful, wonderful drugs to bestow upon me, I just knew it.

    Turns out, he only had one drug for nausea. Phenergan, which works great for nausea.

    But as he explained more, and that he could get his wife to “help” me take it, my hope boiled away in the heat of my nausea-soaked anger.

    He only had it in suppository form.

    Now, I might have been ready to jump off the mountain side to cure the stomach-ache of the century, but I was a teenager, and there was no way in hell I was going to let anyone stick anything up my ass! They wouldn’t let me do it myself, as a “minor”. It was either them or no one.

    “Well, I’ll just die then,” I said. “Out here in the wilderness, there is neither drugstore nor urgent care!”

    I had a choice-either the soon-to-be-born Antichrist, or a suppository that an adult had to push into me while I bent over in humiliation.

    Needless to say, I chose the Antichrist. He’ll be seventeen today.

  • Invictus

    Please is this correct: either A, B or C? What is the correct form? Thanks.

  • Jamie

    They just arrived to the coral reef in their submarine. They thought it would be an inventive family vacation, ‘one for the books!’ as Pa said. But they soon realized they would rather be on either the beach or the top of the Pyrenees… literally anywhere but under the damn sea. Twin ten year olds stuck with their parents cooped up in a submarine pod… You know, I don’t really know why they thought it would be a good idea in the first place. In all honesty, in no way, shape, or form would I ever want to be cooped up with two ten year olds, even if they were my own. And especially these ones. Kitty and Pup, as they were called (although not named… their original names were Catherine and Philip, which shorten to Cat and Pip, so you can see where Ma and Pa were like oh dang that’s cute, let’s call them Kitty and Pup!) may be the wildest ten year old pair you could ever meet. I’ve neither met nor heard of children as wild as these animals. Nor have I heard of animals as wild as these children.

    Kitty and Pup liked to put salt in the sugar container. Kitty and Pup enjoyed turning the bass off of the stereo system, so you felt like something was wrong, but couldn’t quite pinpoint what. Kitty and Pup had fun hiding in the mornings so their parents couldn’t find them when it was time to go to school. They even tried switching classes once as each other, but as Kitty is a girl and Pup is a boy, that scheme did not work out quite as well.

    So imagine the havoc Kitty and Pup could wreak down by the coral reef. Ma and Pa, two unseemly entrepreneurs of wealth, rented out the submarine for the family vacation, thinking it would broaden the horizons of the young twins’ minds. It would open them up to worlds they could neither have seen nor imagined elsewhere. But Kitty and Pup had other ideas. Kitty and Pup imagined schemes of opening the doors and windows to flood their habitation, messing with the buttons and switches of the sub, minimizing oxygen for just a moment. They achieved their schemes. Pa was never able to put the trip in the books.

    • marilyn mccormick

      I was captivated by the antics of this pair. My eyes eagerly raced ahead to see what havoc K & P unleashed next. Good job.

  • Pierce

    I had neither the experience nor the wisdom at Beltane to avoid going into the woods with my lover who had been drinking too much; that is how I ended up with puke near my head during lovemaking.

  • Hakim Jamil

    Hi, are these two correct?
    “You may choose either one or neither one of them.”
    “You may choose either one or both.”

  • Philippe

    Neither capitalism/consumerism nor socialism/communism, I do prefer justice and equity.

  • Stephanie López

    Sarah wasn’t neither pleased nor happy to be in the Artic tundra.

    Jackson you either choose the cake or the cookie, but not both, son.

    • jerodast

      You already have a “not” earlier in the sentence (in the form of “wasn’t”) so you wouldn’t say “neither”. You can choose between:

      Sarah was neither pleased nor happy to be in the Arctic tundra.
      OR
      Sarah wasn’t pleased or happy to be in the Arctic tundra.

      You only need one negative in your sentence. Also, careful with spelling Arctic! It has two c’s.

      The second example is pretty good, although I probably wouldn’t say both “Jackson” and “son” in the same sentence, since they both identify the same person.

      • Stephanie López

        Thanks. English is not my mother tongue, so is kind of difficult to me to get all the grammar right!

        • jerodast

          No problem! It can be tough for us native speakers too, happy to give advice on it 🙂

          • Stephanie López

            I’m glad to know that is not just me. Again, thanks!

  • Lynn Gouvenec

    Can I say : ““You don´t disappoint me neither does deserve living without love” ? If not, which would be the best construction in that case ?

    • jerodast

      You already have a “not” earlier in the sentence (in the form of “don’t”) so you wouldn’t say “neither”. You can choose between:

      You don’t disappoint me or deserve living without love.
      OR
      You neither disappoint me nor deserve living without love.

      There is also an option not addressed in the article, where you use “nor” without “neither” to begin a new clause or sentence. I’m not sure if it’s technically correct but it’s fairly common:

      You don’t disappont me, nor do you deserve living without love.

      Notice the second part repeats the subject (you) and the verb (do), making it a complete clause. The earlier examples only stated the subject in the beginning, and the “or” and “nor” were just connecting objects in single clauses, in which case we follow the rule that this article told us about.

  • Senpai ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°

    I didn’t go to school neither Monday nor Tuesday.

    • jerodast

      You already have a “not” earlier in the sentence (in the form of “didn’t) so you wouldn’t say “neither”. Choose between:

      I didn’t go to school on either Monday or Tuesday.
      OR
      I went to school on neither Monday nor Tuesday.

      You only need one negative in the sentence.

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  • Jason

    She does not neither like James nor Andrew.

    She either take Kiwi or grapes as her dessert dish.

    Is it correct?

    • jerodast

      You don’t need to (and should not) say “neither” when you have already used “not” earlier in the sentence. It would be either:

      She does not like James or Andrew.
      OR
      She does not like either James or Andrew.
      OR
      She likes neither James nor Andrew.

      In my opinion the first and last sound better than the middle option, but it’s your choice.

      Your second sentence is correct except for the verb conjugation for “take” and your capitalization – it would be “She either takes kiwi or grapes as her dessert dish”. Unless Kiwi is the name of someone you’ve cooked for dessert 🙂

  • DeWente

    What is the rule that describes the use of “or” in this sentence?

    “Do you want strawberry or grape jelly?”

  • Amandeep Kaur

    Use neither..nor: He won’t show me his papers or tell me who he is.
    Can ‘Neither does he show me his papers nor tell me who he is’ be considered correct?

  • Mark Bono

    I had a choice to go either to the Arctic tundra to not watch penguins but rather to watch ice or to the African savanna to peer out my window at creatures that wished to eat me, so instead I decided to open Netflix and watch the hilarity of another Griswold family misadventure and eat a bowl of popcorn while comfortably lounging on my couch.

  • eddmann

    Which word should be used in the following example, either or neither?

    Mr. A: “I don’t like this job.”

    Mr. B: “I don’t like this job neither.”
    or
    “I don’t like this job either”

  • Kevin Gomes

    A few days ago, my friend, Frank invited me and a few of his co-workers on a camping trip. The thought of escaping the stress of work and school was an opportunity I could not pass up. The camping site is what you would expect luscious green leaves, tall strong trees, and a dusty trail so visitors do not get lost. Everything seemed great besides those pesky, annoying bugs. The bugs would not stop gnawing at my ankles and shoulders and everywhere in between. Neither bug spray, nor did the bug equipment Frank bought proved to be advantageous. At this point I had two options, either leave the trip at least one day early, or tough it though with everyone else. Contemplating, the answer arrived at leaving one day early. Everyone understood my choice and decided next time to get a less populated spot.

    Thank you for anyone reading and willing to reply