I don't want either A or B

boggiee

Senior Member
Turkish
Hi,

http://english.stackexchange.com/questions/60840/neither-and-either-usage-in-negative-sentence

But I would not use:

I don't want either A or B.

"
I don't want either..." sounds more acceptable with more than two elements, as opposed to justtwo elements, which is why I oped to include it among the possibilities here, but recommended against its use in the previous example.

I am confused about the person's comment. I think we can say '
I don't want either A or B', is that right?

 
  • PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    I can't agree with, "I don't want either..." sounds more acceptable with more than two elements, " "Either' indicates a choice of two. If you have more than two, you would have to say "I don't want A, B, etc., or Z.

    "I don't want either A or B" is fine:

    A: "Which do you want? A rusty fork in your eye or a pineapple shoved down your throat?"

    B: "I don't want either a rusty fork in my eye or a pineapple shoved down my throat, thank you." / or simply, "I don't want either."
     

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    That person is wrong, and you're right. (I don't know what his or her qualifications are; the profile in that forum says only that the person is from the US. He or she certainly doesn't speak for AE.)
     

    Giorgio Spizzi

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Hullo.

    If one looks superficially at the morphology of "n-either", one may be tempted to think that neither is the negative form of either.
    "Neither" is not just "either" with a negative prefix. In reality, neither comes from Old English "naahwæther", neither, a compound formed from naa, "not", and hwæther, "which of two" (the ancestor of present-day English "whether"). Towards the end of the OE period it was contracted to nawther, and in Middle English, this became—under the influence of "either"—neither.

    GS :)
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I think you can say any of these:

    I don't want either - the choice has clearly been presented to you.

    I don't want either A or B - suggests that there's some C which you may be about to specify.

    I want neither - sounds pretty curt.

    I want neither A nor B - sounds rather literary. I wouldn't naturally say it.

    I disagree strongly with the person in the other forum who says that I don't want either A, B, C,... is a suitable use of I don't want either. For me it would have to be I don't want any of A, B, C,...:tick::)

    I think either normally refers to one of two specified items.
     

    taraa

    Senior Member
    Persian
    I can't agree with, "I don't want either..." sounds more acceptable with more than two elements, " "Either' indicates a choice of two. If you have more than two, you would have to say "I don't want A, B, etc., or Z.

    "I don't want either A or B" is fine:

    A: "Which do you want? A rusty fork in your eye or a pineapple shoved down your throat?"

    B: "I don't want either a rusty fork in my eye or a pineapple shoved down my throat, thank you." / or simply, "I don't want either."
    Is "" like "I don't want A and I don't want B too" or "I one of A or B, I want both A and B", please?
     

    taraa

    Senior Member
    Persian
    I think this needs sorting, Taraa. I don't know what you are asking.
    Oh, sorry. I asked:
    Is "I don't want either A or B" like "I don't want A and I don't want B too" or "I don't want only one of A or B, I want both A and B", please?
     

    tunaafi

    Senior Member
    English - British (Southern England)
    Is "I don't want either A or B" like "I don't want A and I don't want B too" or "I don't want only one of A or B, I want both A and B", please?
    That would normally mean: I don't want A and I don't want B. I want neither A nor B.
    You could give the other meaning in speech by stressing the or' and adding what you did want: I don't want (either) A or B; I want A and B.
     

    taraa

    Senior Member
    Persian
    That would normally mean: I don't want A and I don't want B. I want neither A nor B.
    You could give the other meaning in speech by stressing the or' and adding what you did want: I don't want (either) A or B; I want A and B.
    Interesting, many thanks for the good explanation. :)
     

    taraa

    Senior Member
    Persian
    But it’s not correct. It’s a double negative. You can only use the negative nor if you put it in a separate sentence or clause.
    I don’t want A or B. :tick:
    I don’t want A. Nor do I want B. :tick:
    Aha, many thanks, lingobingo for the good point. :)
     
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