Can we use "not either" instead of "neither"?

For example, given that…

  1. I don't like football
  2. I don't like basketball

… which of the following are correct?

A. I like neither football nor basketball.

B. I don't like either football or basketball.

  • Both are grammatically correct, and both mean the same thing. The negative in (2) strips the n- off either and or. Commented Nov 11, 2022 at 22:19

2 Answers 2


Note: you cannot say "I like not either football not or basketball"; that sentence is incorrect.

You can however say:

I do not like football or basketball.

  • 2
    You still need to discuss "neither" vs. "not either," though.
    – herisson
    Commented Sep 7, 2015 at 6:38

Both sound acceptable to me. A is a textbook neither…nor construction. B is just another way of stating "I don't like either sport", which is allowable.

Sentences A and B have slightly different connotations, though, due to the verb being affirmative in A and negative in B. If I had to guess at a likely continuation for each sentence, I would say…

  • I like neither football nor basketball. (Well then, what do you like?) Actually, I prefer hockey.

  • I don't like either football or basketball. (Tell me more about your dislike, then.) In fact, I'm not a fan of heavily commercialized team sports at all.

  • @sumelic I don't think I changed the meaning in Rev 3. The OP made a mess by altering the question in Rev 2. Commented Sep 7, 2015 at 6:45

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