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Thread: Neither

  1. #1
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    Default Neither

    My teacher told me that neither has a negative sense and takes a verb in the singular. But I find some sentences which use "neither" is quite different from what my teacher said in my textbook, so I'm not sure if they are correct or not, so can anybody help me?
    If they are correct, please tell me why, thanks in advance.

    1. Neither of you move,ok?
    2. Neither of us has got a driver's license.(why not use have)
    3. Neither Ireland nor Iceland are moutainous.(why not use is)
    4. -Are Bill Clinton and John Major film stars?
    -No, neither Bill Clinton nor John Major are film stars.(why not say '----is film star')

  2. #2
    ramanji is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Neither

    Quote Originally Posted by jenny,Mei View Post
    My teacher told me that neither has a negative sense and takes a verb in the singular. But I find some sentences which use "neither" is quite different from what my teacher said in my textbook, so I'm not sure if they are correct or not, so can anybody help me?
    If they are correct, please tell me why, thanks in advance.

    1. Neither of you move,ok?
    2. Neither of us has got a driver's license.(why not use have)
    3. Neither Ireland nor Iceland are moutainous.(why not use is)
    4. -Are Bill Clinton and John Major film stars?
    -No, neither Bill Clinton nor John Major are film stars.(why not say '----is film star')
    Neither of us has got a driver's license.
    'Have ' should be used if the the subject is plural.
    Neither of us refers to one of the two persons(us) in the above example. So use 'has'.
    3)When neither- nor combination is used in a sentence, the main verb follows the number of the second subject. In the above example, it is singular.
    Similar rule is applicable for either -or combination.
    e.g: Neither Ravi nor his friends (plural) are working now.
    Neither Ravi nor his friend is working now.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Neither

    so the third sentence and the fourth sentence is not correct. right?

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Neither

    Quote Originally Posted by jenny,Mei View Post
    so the third sentence and the fourth sentence is not correct. right?
    Have a look here, neither … nor. The Columbia Guide to Standard American English. 1993

    Note that, if the person's intention is to express a multiple subject (e.g., Bill and John) separately, as two things, then it would be notionally awkward to use a singular verb. This is called notional agreement, a concept you might not find in most textbooks. Moreover, notional agreement is different from grammatical concord, which is what your teacher was talking about. Grammatical concord is the standard, whereas notional concord is just starting to catch on.

    Notional agreement
    3. Neither Ireland nor Iceland are mountainous.
    4. Neither Bill Clinton nor John Major are film stars.

    Grammatical concord
    3. Neither Ireland nor Iceland is mountainous.
    4. Neither Bill Clinton nor John Major is a film stars.

    Are your sentences correct? It depends on who you're asking. From Subject-Verb Agreement
    The pronouns neither and either are singular and require singular verbs even though they seem to be referring, in a sense, to two things.
    • Neither of the two traffic lights is working.
    • Which shirt do you want for Christmas?
      Either is fine with me.
    In informal writing, neither and either sometimes take a plural verb when these pronouns are followed by a prepositional phrase beginning with of. This is particularly true of interrogative constructions: "Have either of you two clowns read the assignment?" "Are either of you taking this seriously?" Burchfield calls this "a clash between notional and actual agreement."*
    Informal
    1. Neither of you move.
    2. Neither of us have a driver's license.

    Formal
    1. Neither of you moves.
    2. Neither of us has a driver's license.


    Does that help?

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