Neither/Nor

Neither means not one nor the other of two. It is followed by a singular noun and verb.

  • Neither shirt looks good on you.
  • Neither statement is true.

Neither of

Before a determiner (articles, possessives and distributives) or a personal pronoun, we use neither of.

  • Neither of my parents lives with me.
  • Neither of my sisters is married.
  • I like neither of them.

The pronoun that comes after neither of is plural in number. The verb is normally singular, but can be plural in an informal style.

Neither and nor to mean also not

The adverbs neither and nor mean also not. They can be used at the beginning of a clause after a negative idea.

  • I don’t like science fiction. Neither does my husband. (OR My husband does not either.)
  • Alice didn’t come, and nor did Mary. (OR Mary didn’t either.)
  • We have never been to Paris. Neither have I. (OR I haven’t either.)
  • She can’t come today, and neither can her brother. (OR And her brother can’t either)

Note that here we use the inverted word order neither/nor + auxiliary verb + subject.

Neither — nor

This structure is used to join two negative ideas.

  • My father can’t speak English.
  • My mother can’t speak English.
  • Neither my father nor my mother can speak English.

After neither, we use a positive verb to mean a negative idea.

  • I don’t drink.
  • I don’t smoke.
  • I neither drink nor smoke. (NOT I neither don’t drink nor don’t smoke.)

When two singular nouns are joined by neither —nor, the verb is normally singular, but it can be plural in an informal style.

  • Neither Alice nor Mary is good at painting. (normal)
  • Neither Alice nor Mary are good at paiting. (informal)

Neither, Nor, Not..Either

We can use neither and nor to mean also not. They come at the beginning of a clause, and are followed by inverted word order: auxiliary verb + subject.

  • ‘I can’t speak French.’ ‘Neither can I.’ (NOT I also can’t.)
  • John didn’t turn up, and nor did Alice.

We can also use not — either with the same meaning and normal word order.

  • I can’t speak French. I can’t either.
  • John didn’t turn up, and Alice didn’t either.
image_pdfimage_print

Manjusha Nambiar

Hi, I am Manjusha. This is my blog where I give English grammar lessons and worksheets.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *