How to Say “Either” in Mandarin: Formal and Informal Ways, Tips, Examples, and Regional Variations

Learning how to say “either” in Mandarin can be quite useful when expressing choices or sharing preferences in conversations. Whether you’re aiming for a formal or an informal tone, it’s essential to understand how this word is used in different contexts and regions. In this guide, we will explore various ways to say “either” in Mandarin, providing tips, examples, and highlighting any relevant regional variations.

Formal Ways to Say “Either” in Mandarin

When expressing “either” in formal Mandarin, you can use the following phrases:

  1. 不是…也不是 (bùshì… yě bùshì) – Literally translates to “neither… nor.”
  2. 或者…或者 (huòzhě… huòzhě) – This phrase means “either… or” and is commonly used in formal contexts.
  3. 任何一个 (rènhé yīgè) – Translating to “any one” or “any of them,” this phrase is appropriate for expressing different choices.

Here are a few examples to illustrate the usage:

Wǒ bùshì xǐhuān kāfēi yě bùshì chá.
I don’t like either coffee or tea.

Nǐ xiǎng chī zhōngcān huòzhě xīcān?
Do you want to eat either Chinese food or Western food?

Zhèxiē shū guǎn yǒu rènhé yīgè dōu kěyǐ jièyuè.
You can borrow any one of these books from the library.

Informal Ways to Say “Either” in Mandarin

When conversing in a more informal setting, you can consider using these phrases to express “either” in Mandarin:

  1. 不管…还是… (bùguǎn… háishì…) – This phrase translates to “no matter… or…” and is commonly used in casual conversations.
  2. 要么…要么 (yàome… yàome) – Meaning “either… or,” this phrase is suitable for discussing choices in an informal tone.
  3. 都可以 (dōu kěyǐ) – Simply expressing “both are acceptable.”

Here are some examples to help you understand the informal usage:

Bùguǎn nǐ xǐhuān kāfēi háishì chá, dōu kěyǐ suíbiàn diǎn.
No matter whether you like coffee or tea, you can order whichever you want.

Wǒmen jīnwǎn yàome kàn diànyǐng yàome qù yóulèyuán.
Tonight, we can either watch a movie or go to an amusement park.

Nǐ xiǎng chī Màidāngláo háishi Kěndéjī? Dōu kěyǐ, wǒ de kǒuwèi hěn suíyì.
Whether you want to eat McDonald’s or KFC, both are fine. I am easygoing with my food preferences.

Regional Variations

While Mandarin is the official language in China, it’s worth noting that regional variations exist. In some regions, different colloquial expressions may be used to convey “either.” Here are a couple of examples to give you an idea:

  1. 要不是 (yàobúshì) – Common in northern China, this phrase means “otherwise” but can also be used to express “either.”
  2. 或则 (huòzé) – This is a dialectal variation commonly used in Taiwan, which has the same meaning as “either.”

Remember, these regional variations might not be as universally understood, so it’s important to keep in mind the context and the audience when using them.


Being able to express “either” in Mandarin provides you with the flexibility to convey choices and preferences in various situations. In this guide, we have explored both formal and informal ways to express “either” in Mandarin, along with examples and regional variations. By practicing these phrases, you can enhance your Mandarin language skills and engage in conversations more effectively. Remember to adapt your choice of phrases based on the formality of the situation and be mindful of any regional variations that may exist. Enjoy exploring the richness of Mandarin expressions and have fun incorporating “either” into your daily conversations!

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