The fat content of many processed foods is not clearly evident from either the appearance of the food, its feel and taste, or from the packaging and shape of the item.

Is it possible for me to change the order of the words from from either to either from in this context?

  • I don't see why not. You could be criticised, though, for using "either" with a three-member set. – BillJ Jun 14 '18 at 14:07
  • @BillJ I assumed it'd be one set - appearance/feel/taste vs another - packaging/shape, but I agree it is a bit awkward. – Oliver Mason Jun 14 '18 at 15:05
  • 1
    No, the coordination consists of a three-member set: "the appearance of the food", "its feel and taste", and "the packaging of the item". – BillJ Jun 14 '18 at 15:41
  • If you use from either, then you shouldn’t repeat “from” in the list. – Scott Jun 15 '18 at 1:42

The grammatical structure you are using is either A or B. The phrases A and B both start with from, which you can extract and put in front of the phrase, so that you have two options:

  1. either from A or from B
  2. from either A or B

In your example, it is actually from either A or from B, but the second from seems redundant to me, as it would be option 2 above.

So in effect I would say that your proposed change makes the sentence more logical.

A counter argument is that having from either avoids a garden path interpretation of the sentence, where either is read as meaning as well; and then the from invalidates that interpretation.


May I horn in in the debate? As a French native, I feel that either from sounds more pleasant to hear. But it's only my opinion :-)

  • What difficulty do you see in comparing "either from" and "from either", please? They are very different, but that difference should present no difficulty. Broadly, you use "either from" to explain that something comes from a choice of two sources, and "from either" to explain that the same thing might come from either source. – Robbie Goodwin Jun 22 '18 at 19:08
  • I agree to delete my answer if that's what jimm101 means. But I notice that the most explicit answer — either from A or B (limited to 2 alternatives) vs from either A or B or C or D … or Z was given AFTER my comment, which might mean that some clarifications ARE useful. So, if I delete my answer, this piece of knowledge will be lost, too. – ypouplard Jun 23 '18 at 13:44

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