Can we use negative sentences with "either... or"?

  1. Don't come late


Or if you came late....

  1. Don't watch TV

Which of the below sentences represents the above situation?

A. I don't either come late or watch TV.

B. Either I don't come late or I don't watch TV.

Can we say that like this or must we use positive sentences with "either"???


Sentence A can be interpreted as meaning that you neither come late nor watch TV. ("neither.. nor" is the negative formation for "either...or").

disclaimer: colloquial English does not recognize/ represent the logical distinction between exclusive OR and non-exclusive OR.

Sentence B seems closer to expressing the situation you describe. But you have changed it from imperative to declarative. To retain the imperative sense, as well as the logical connection of the two acts, and express it clearly as a negation, you need an "if" and a ("must not"/"cannot").

Then you can say it as a negative:

  • If I do not come in time, I {cannot/must not} watch TV.

Or, you might say (positively):

  • I {can/may} watch TV if I come {in/on} time

Disclaimer again: this is not the logical implication of the former sentence, but is often the inference taken in colloquial English.

But you can also mix a positive and a negative, if you're careful to phrase it so as to preserve the relation between the actions. For example:

  • Either I show up on time, or I don 't [get to] watch TV.

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