Distributive Pronouns

Distributive pronouns refer to people or things taken one at a time. Examples are: each, either and neither. Since they refer to a single person or thing at a time, distributive pronouns are always singular and are followed by singular verbs.

Each

Each refers to everyone of a group of persons/things taken separately.

  • Each boy was given a present.
  • She had a child hanging on to each hand.

Before a noun with a determiner (the, my, this etc.) we use each of. Note that each of is followed by a plural noun and a singular verb.

  • Each of the boys was given a present.

Each can have different positions in a sentence.

  • Each of the boys was given a present.
  • The boys were each given a present.
  • The boys were given a present each.

Either and neither

Either and neither can be used only when speaking about two persons or things. Either means one or the other of two. Neither means not one nor the other of two.

  • Either answer is correct.
  • Either road will lead to the railway station.
  • Neither team could win a decisive victory.

When speaking about more than two persons or things any, no one or none should be used.

  • I don’t like any of these three shirts. (NOT … either of these three shirts.)
  • No one offered to accompany him.
  • None but the brave deserve the fair.

See also:

Distributive adjectives

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Manjusha Nambiar

Hi, I am Manjusha. This is my blog where I give English grammar lessons and worksheets.

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