Either vs ether

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Either and ether are two words that are very close in pronunciation and spelling and are often confused. We will examine the definitions of either and ether, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences.

Either means this one or that one, one or the other, each of two. When either is used as a conjunction, it is paired with the word or. For example: “I will wear either the red dress or the blue dress.” Either may be used as an adverb, it indicates a link with the immediately previous statement. For example: “I’m not going. Henry isn’t either.” Either is also is used as a determiner and a pronoun. The word either is derived from the Old English word ǣgther meaning both or each of two.

The ether is the upper, clear sky above the clouds, or the air in the sense that is a conductive medium of electronic transmissions. Ether is also a liquid that is used as an anesthetic or industrial solvent. The word ether is derived from the Greek word aither which means pure air, upper air, the sky.


Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, made a deal that if the opportunity came for either of them to run for president, it would be Ivanka, according to “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” a new book about the early days of the Trump administration by journalist Michael Wolff. (The Business Insider)

Hanlon, the Giants’ general manager, is balking at the idea of being on either end of a blockbuster deal with the WHL trade deadline set for next Wednesday. (The Province)

What’s scary, really, is the idea in the ether that compassion is effeminate and thereby un-American. (Harpers Bazaar)

Equally remarkable is the fact that ether, the first agent to be used as a general anesthetic, was shown by Paracelsus in the 16th century to put chickens to sleep.  (The New York Times)