Either/or means "one or the other." Its usage, versus the simple or structure, is often for emphatic purposes, sometimes intending to emphasize that only one option is possible, or to emphasize that there are only two options. Its use in a sentence lets the reader/listener know in advance that a list of two or more possibilities will be given. Its negative is neither/nor, meaning "none of them".
Either has two main different pronunciations in modern English.
An Ira Gershwin song, Let's Call the Whole Thing Off, opens with the words "You say ee-ther and I say eye-ther", and concerns a couple who lament the strain put on their relationship by pronunciation differences.
The 'ee-ther' pronunciation forms with the word 'ether' one of the few minimal pairs demonstrating that the difference between the voiced dental fricative and the unvoiced dental fricative is phonemic in English.
- List of auto-antonyms in English
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