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The Grammar Guru

EITHER/NEITHER AND VERBS

Every now and then, Pat and Mildred, who had been married for years, would take pity on their single neighbor, Peter, and ask him to go to the movies with them. Either one or the other would extend the invitation and then tell the other about it.

As they left the theater, Peter opined on the film: "Neither of the leads was especially good, and I thought the dog was too precious. What's more, the plot was predictable."

Mildred was stunned: "It was 'The Wizard of Oz!' " Then she walked ahead, leaving Pat to deal with Peter.

They usually stopped at Arnie's Coffee Shop on the way home. Tonight, however, neither Pat nor Mildred was in the mood to spend any more time than necessary with Peter.

Peter, however, stopped. "Isn't either of you up for some coffee and apple pie?"

Mildred, who was a size 6, patted her stomach and said, "I'm on a diet." Then she grabbed Pat's arm, and off they ran.

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REMEMBER

Either (one) -- always gets a small or singular bottom or verb.

Neither (one) -- ditto.

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QUIZ

1) Neither the East Coast nor the West Coast (are/is) prepared for an alien invasion.

2) "OK," the detective told Leo and Warren, "you're both stuck here until either one of you (confess/confesses) to the robbery."

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ANSWERS

1) is (Then again, they may be keeping it from us, so we don't become alarmed.)

2) confesses (Neither was guilty but they had no plans, so they both settled in for the night.)