Hello native English speakers!

I want to ask you about either and both. I tried to find similar questions in this site but I think they were not same with these ones.

My questions are;

  1. I was invited to two parties, but I couldn't go to ------- of them.
  2. I took two books with me on holidays, but I didn't read ------- of them.

I choose both for questions 1 and 2. But the right answers were either. But I think both and either are correct either. Am I right?

Thank you in advance!

  • 1
    Welcome to ELU. Please visit English Language Learners Good Luck.
    – Kris
    Commented Jun 21, 2016 at 13:11
  • Both options can be correct, but they really mean something different. So the question is, what was the context of the questions?
    – oerkelens
    Commented Jun 21, 2016 at 13:29

2 Answers 2


"I was invited to two parties, but I couldn't go to both of them." - this suggests that you were able to go to one of them, but not both - perhaps they were on at the same time, for example.

"I was invited to two parties, but I couldn't go to either of them." - this states that you could go to none of the parties.

So, you can see that the meaning is quite different. Both are grammatically correct, so either could be correct depending on the context.

  • Thank you very much Max and others for detailed explanation! All the answers were helpful.
    – Gerlinde
    Commented Jun 22, 2016 at 13:42

In this case, I'd say "either". If you were to say something like "I took two books with me, and I did read them both", you'd say "both". I am fairly sure this is the only difference between the two.

  • 2
    "I couldn't read either" has a different meaning to "I couldn't read both" - see my answer. Commented Jun 21, 2016 at 13:22

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