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I want to work on either X or Y.

I have to change that sentence this way:

I want to work either on X or in the realm of Y.

Is there any problem with it? I am doubtful about the proper placing of "either".

P.S. I know that we have to adjust place of "either" according to the verb(s).

  • Your sentences are okay but not in the form I am looking for: I want to say: I plan to work on this project or in the realm of power systems. – user110981 Feb 18 '15 at 9:04
  • I will take either French or German. // I will speak in either French or German. // I will work in either France or Germany. = I will work either in France or in Germany. // I want to work either in France or in Germany. / I want to speak on either genetics or virology. = I want to speak either on genetics or on virology. // I want to work either on a carrier or in the dockside armoury. – Edwin Ashworth Feb 18 '15 at 9:07
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One can easily determine the right place for either and both if one will consider the point of bifurcation. In your first example the alternatives are:

I want to work on X
I want to work on Y

I want to work on being the longest common initial sequence, you may put either after it, as you did. But prepositions are so tightly "glued" to the nouns they modify that it is good style not to separate them:

I want to work either on X or on Y.

In your second example:

I want to work on X
I want to work in the realm of Y

the common initial sequence is I want to work, so place either after it. But bear in mind that working on X and working in the realm of Y are incomparable. It is better to express the alternatives in analogous form or rewrite the sentence without either, for example:

If I fail to find a job in the realm of Y, I shall seek a position where I can work on X.

  • +1 Nicely laid out. I wonder if we could consider work to be semantically different in each case of the on/in example, so either would be inserted after to: "... to either work on X or work in the realm of Y". – Lawrence Jul 7 '17 at 22:25

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