How to use "either" with negating "no"?


The following text is a translation from a medical ultrasonography test result:

No hydronephrosis was observed in either kidney.

Given the fact that "No" is used to negate the sentence, I am skeptic of the correctness of using "either" in the above sentence. If it is wrong, then should "neither" be used instead?


Posted 2015-07-02T10:54:09.310

Reputation: 2 180



The above statement is absolutely right.

No hydronephrosis was observed in either kidney.

Here, you are negating the statement about hydronephrosis being present in at least one of the kidneys (either).

Or if you are so keen on avoiding 'either' and using 'neither' instead, you can use the following:

Neither of the kidneys was observed to have hydronephrosis.

This just makes it very complex for understanding and having said it is a medical report, better to avoid such complexity.


Posted 2015-07-02T10:54:09.310

Reputation: 1 061

In your latter example, I would prefer "Neither ... was ..." vs. "... were ...".

– shoover – 2015-07-02T15:20:24.773

@shoover I have changed it now. Thanks for the heads-up! – Caroffrey – 2015-07-03T05:08:54.527


The sentence is correct, using 'neither' would make it a double negative (which has the effect of making the sentence affirmative in a really ugly and clumsy way):

No hydronephrosis was observed in neither kidney

Means: "Neither kidney had no hydronephrosis -> They both had hydronephrosis"

No hydronephrosis was observed in either kidney

"We checked the first kidney for hydronephrosis, there was none. Then we checked the second, there was no hydronephrosis in that one either."


Posted 2015-07-02T10:54:09.310

Reputation: 4 357