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 http://wp.me/p1x6Ui-8m’ and ‘note 45 either…or (coordinating conjunction) http://wp.me/p1x6Ui-8I’.
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.
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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.