The joining words or, either…or and neither…nor

The conjunctions or, either…or and neither…nor can be used to combine two simple sentences into one. These are used when two alternative facts or statements have to be presented.

Using or

Two simple sentences can be combined into a compound sentence by using the conjunction or.

  • You can have tea. You can have coffee.
  • You can have tea or coffee.
  • You can go by bus. You can go by car.
  • You can go by bus or car.

Using either…or

  • He is a fool. He is a madman.
  • He is either a fool or a madman.
  • The car dashed against a goat. The car dashed against a donkey.
  • The car dashed against either a goat or a donkey.

Note that either…or is used to join two affirmative sentences.

Using neither…nor

Neither…nor is used to join two negative statements.

  • He does not drink. He does not smoke.
  • He neither drinks nor smokes.
  • He will not spend his money. He will not invest it.
  • He will neither spend his money nor invest it.


When the correlatives either..or and neither…nor are used, you must see that they are placed immediately before the words they relate to.

Using otherwise

  • You must apologize. You will be punished.
  • You must apologize otherwise you will be punished.