Either Way

D6C24017-E5D3-41DD-87C6-95412B07D8CCHow do you pronounce the word “either”? Do you use the hard ē, as in ee-ther, or the hard ī as in eye-ther?

And what about “neither”? Rhymes with nee-ther? Or nigh-ther?

I was raised to pronounce both words with the hard ē sound, and that’s how I still pronounce them: ee-ther and nee-ther.

The reason I’m asking is because I’ve noticed lately that a lot of people who use either of those words, particularly on some TV shows that I watch, are pronouncing them using the hard ī, saying “eye-ther” or “nigh-ther.”

I Googled the pronunciation of both words and found out that, whichever way someone chooses to pronounce these words, they shouldn’t have trouble being understood. Both pronunciations are correct. However, the way people say these words depends on their upbringing, their region and their preference. It seems that the British are more likely to use eye-ther as the pronunciation, and the Americans use ee-ther.”

I think there are two possible explanations for why I’m hearing the hard ī pronunciation more frequently than the hard ē pronunciation.

First, a lot of actors on American TV shows are actually British, Canadian, or Australian (or even New Zealanders), who are playing Americans but use the British way of saying either or neither.

Second, every American seems to think that speaking with a British accent makes the person talking sound more refined and intelligent than their American counterparts.

Or maybe there’s a third reason. It’s me. Maybe I’m the one who is saying these words wrong.

So are you a hard ē or a hard ī person?

10 thoughts on “Either Way

  1. kirstwrites March 30, 2018 / 11:42 pm

    I’m British, and both sound right to me. I think I use them interchangeably… but now I’m going to be policing my conversations to check!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. newepicauthor March 31, 2018 / 8:27 am

    Sounds get confused when the letters ‘ei’ are used in consecutive order and the A sound is prevalent in words like vein, beige, eight and weigh, while deceit, leisure and seize have an E sound and words like apartheid and dreidel have an I sound.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Angel March 31, 2018 / 3:26 pm

    Mr. Fandango, I am a hard ī person! Funny enough, I started the hard ī when I was young, and I can’t help but think it’s because I thought it sounded more refined. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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