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Distributive adjectives

Home » Adjectives in English » Distributive adjectives

Distributive adjectives

What are distributive adjectives? They are: each, every, either and neither. We use distributive adjectives to refer to singular nouns that usually include a collective group or more than one person.

Distributive adjectives examples


  • I want each person to do their job correctly.
  • After the exam, each candidate will have to present their thesis to the class.
  • I want each student to give the challenge a go.


(Nearly interchangeable with ‘each’, only ‘every’ can only be used with singular nouns and not plural nouns)

  • I would like every person to stand up, please.
  • Every chapter in the series is really interesting.
  • Do you want to vote for every single party?

Either: used to choose or imply one out of two options

  • Which dog would you like to keep, the Border collie or the German Shepard?  I don’t like either one of them, I’m looking for a Labrador.
  • You can come next week either on Monday or Tuesday, either day is fine.
  • I’m looking for a good Tin-tin book, either a hard-cover or a soft cover. Either one is fine.

Neither: used to imply negativity and not opting or choosing for both options 

  • Neither my colleague or I have done a decent job on the project.
  • I really don’t like those two buildings, neither one of them is beautiful.
  • How did you find the two cars you were looking into buying? Neither of them was to my liking.


We can also use ‘either’ in the sense of ‘neither’ when negating two options. However, we have to use ‘either’ with a negative construction and ‘neither’ with a positive construction, even though grammatically the sentence is negative, the sense in both is negative.

Which option would you like to choose?

  • I don’t want either of them.


  • I want neither of them.

Both sentences are correct. The first sentence uses a negative construction with ‘don’t and ‘either’ and the second sentence uses a positive construction with ‘want’ and ‘neither’ but both are negative and hold the same meaning. 

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