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Note 46 – neither…nor (coordinating conjunctions)

When to use ‘Neither…nor’

Neither…nor are a pair of coordinating conjunctions that links words, phrases and clauses.  Please refer to my previous notes for more information: ‘note 43 Conjunctions’ and ‘note 45 either…or (coordinating conjunction)’.

As this blog is similar to note 45, I will leave you to work out the answers.  To check them, please see the end of this blog.

Q1. Which one of these sentences are correct?

(a) I neither found Jane’s bag nor Sam’ shoes  in the lost property box

(b) I found neither Jane’s bag nor Sam’ shoes  in the lost property box

Q2. Under normal circumstances, do you think it’s correct to use neither with more than two items as in the sentence below?

I want your help with neither the cleaning, nor the gardening, nor the shopping, nor the washing!

Hope you enjoyed today’s blog. 

Until tomorrow…


This blog:

My other blog:

My website: (includes first chapter of my book)

Twitter: @madeirasandra and @tipsandluxuries

Reference list:

John Seely  The Oxford A-Z of Grammar & Punctuation, USA

Answers & explanations

Q1.  Answer: (1b)

Explanation: Jane’s bag and Sam’s shoes have the same grammatical status, therefore neither should be placed before the Jane’s bag and nor should be placed before Sam’s shoes.  (1b) is therefore the correct answer. Well done if you got it right.

Q2.  Answer: No. 

Explanation: According to John Seely in his book Oxford A-Z or Grammar & Punctuation, “Neither is normally only used with two items” as in sentence (1b), making it non-standard to use a sentence such as the one in this example.  Well done if you got it right.


About Sandra Madeira

I am a full-time working mum with a passion for writing and inspiring others. Subjects I tend to blog about are life skills, parenting, decluttering, worklife balance, etc. At the moment I am on a decluttering mission creating space in my house, garden and mind. I have challenged myself to do at least ten minutes a day and write about it. Have a good day! Sandra Freelance Writer


One thought on “Note 46 – neither…nor (coordinating conjunctions)

  1. Keep up the postings. I am obtaining a better refresher course than imagined.

    Posted by MercXue | June 16, 2011, 4:15 am

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