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Hi,

I want to write to two different people to ask whether they are interested in a show. I'm confused between saying 'if either of you is available' and 'if either of you are available'?

Which one is the correct formulation?

Thanks
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AnonymousHi,

I want to write to two different people to ask whether they are interested in a show. I'm confused between saying 'if either of you is available' and 'if either of you are available'?

Which one is the correct formulation?

Thanks

The above context is quite intriquing. But for the simple question, " either of you " takes a singular verb, "is"; according to traditional grammar rule. I think " either of you " is confusing, because " you " trigger the verb agreement "are".

That aside ...Are you asking this question, intending to go to a show with both of them, or either one will do? What if X and Y both said "yes", expecting going to the show with you only, but to find out it's a party of three ? Just a thought!
dimsumexpress
That aside ...Are you asking this question, intending to go to a show with both of them, or either one will do? What if X and Y both said "yes", expecting going to the show with you only, but to find out it's a party of three ? Just a thought!


Typically, either is used only for two things. We use any for more than two.

If either of you is going to...= there are only two people

If any of you is going to...= there are more than two people

Some prefer to use the plural verb, especially with 'any.' But strict grammarians may object to this, as both any and either are singular.
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either of you are available

is vs are? One simple way is to phrase it in question.

Is either of you coming .... vs

Are either of you coming ....

Clearly, "is either of you" sounds correct; since the intention is to ask only one of the two people, not both. Hence the verb 'is' is used; not are.

This is a difficult issue, and I'm going to go against the apparent grain here and say that, "Are either of you going?" is correct.

The subject/verb agreement of "either" depends on the subject closest to the verb. Thus it is correct to say, "Either Bob or his parents are going to the dinner." And it is correct to say, "Either Bob or Mary is going to the dinner."

But "you" can either be singular or plural. And the "either of you going" question does permit both of them to go. Thus "you" is plural in the sentence, "Are either of you going."

That being said, it seems that this post is one on UK English rather than US English, and I am writing from the US perspective (not sure if there is a difference there on this point).

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