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1. Any of the two books is useful.
2. Either of the two books is useful.
3. Either book is useful.

Which of the sentences is/are correct? Or are all incorrect?
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Comments  (Page 2) 
CalifJimI would certainly not say "any of the two".

Either ... is (though grammatically correct) often connotes one or the other but not both. This may be the meaning sensed by the person who objects to is and prefers may be.

CJ

I agree with you. That is also my what I think.
Goodman wrote, 'Either book is useful. ok, but there could be more than 2 books, perhaps 3; meaning either book A, B or C could be useful..'

'Either' refers to one of two items. Therefore, I do not agree with Goodman that perhaps there are 3 books.

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Liat,

Happy Holidays! You are quite firm on your opinion. Let me see if this makes any sense to you, because from what you said, you didn't believe [either] can be used in context of 3; correct?

I have never been to either New York, Boston or even New Orleans in my life. Yes, typically [either] is used in the context of two, however, not always.
Yoong LiatGoodman wrote, 'Either book is useful. ok, but there could be more than 2 books, perhaps 3; meaning either book A, B or C could be useful..'

'Either' refers to one of two items. Therefore, I do not agree with Goodman that perhaps there are 3 books.



Hi Yong

"As a pronoun either sometimes occurs in reference to more than two (either of the three children), but any is more common in this construction (any of the three children). "
'The Right Word at the Right Time' states:

'Either' (like 'neither') should strictly be used only in reference to two things - neither more or less. If there are more than two things, then 'any' should be used instead:

Of the three possible routes, either will serve our purposes. (incorrect)

I believe if 'either' is used for more than two items, such constructions are acceptable only informally.
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Yoong Liat'The Right Word at the Right Time' states:

'Either' (like 'neither') should strictly be used only in reference to two things - neither more or less. If there are more than two things, then 'any' should be used instead:

Of the three possible routes, either will serve our purposes. (incorrect)

I believe if 'either' is used for more than two items, such constructions are acceptable only informally.
http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=either&r=66
The houses were finished with either cedar siding or stucco or brick.
Incho wrote, 'The houses were finished with either cedar siding or stucco or brick.'

The Right Word at the Right Times also states:

Since 'either' strictly applies to two things only, the choices are properly expressed in the pattern either A or B - not, strictly speaking, in the pattern ? either A or B or C ...

And yet such a pattern is encountered very frequently, even in the works of outstanding writers:

? I would not have thought of eating a meal without drinking either wine or cider or beer. (Ernest Hemingway (U.S.)

However, it is advisable to avoid the either ... or ... or .... construction when in the presence of purists.
Liat,

Just a few pennies worth from me....Since 'either' strictly applies to two things only, the choices are properly expressed in the pattern either A or B - not, strictly speaking, in the pattern ? either A or B or C ...I am not where you are going with this statement. Are you still in disagreement, or somewhat convinced, or just quoting something from your book?

I am from the old school. Through the years, I've learned to absorb whatever people taught me, even though the answers didn't seem exactly fitting. It's up to you to siphen and the filter the information as you go which may seem correct to you, rather than debating the people who tried to help you. The quotations from books are good as a reference in IMO. If the books already gave you the answers, it would seem silly to ask the forum for something you already have the answer for.

"If you need help with your project, you can come see me, Jim. or Paul. - absoultely correct to use!
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Hi Goodman

Since 'either' strictly applies to two things only, the choices are properly expressed in the pattern either A or B - not, strictly speaking, in the pattern ? either A or B or C ...

Please note that I had earlier said that informally 'either' can be used in relation to more than two things. So it is in agreement with the above in blue with grey background.

You wrote: 'I have never been to either New York, Boston or even New Orleans in my life.' But as stated above 'either A or B or C ...' (the part above, which I've underlined) is, strictly speaking, not correct. Please also note the following:

And yet such a pattern is encountered very frequently, even in the works of outstanding writers:

? I would not have thought of eating a meal without drinking either wine or cider or beer. (Ernest Hemingway (U.S.)

However, it is advisable to avoid the either ... or ... or .... construction when in the presence of purists.


I didn't ask a question about whether 'either' can be used for more than two things. You said that 'either' can be used in regard to more than two things, which I disagreed. I said that when 'either' is used with more than two things, it is informally correct, not strictly speaking, correct.
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