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Write the Right Word: Either

“Either” is a commonly misused word.

It can be used before the first of two specified alternatives. However, because “either” refers to “one or the other,” never use it with more than two alternatives. For example: “She will have to choose either the red car or the blue car because they are the only two that are in her price range.”

Better yet, leave out the “either.” The sentence is clear without it.

If you have three or more alternatives, simply list them. For example: “For best results, take samples at sunrise, an hour after rain stops falling or at sunset.”

Also, do not use “either” when you mean “both.” For example: “He said we can use either door to reach the meeting room.” “We found hail damage to the fields on both sides of the road.”

, Information Specialist, 701-231-5391

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