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  1. #1
    patorresz is offline Newbie
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    Red face neither...nor - singular or plural?

    Hello this is my first post here...me and my coworkers have a doubt, when using neither...nor ....do you use singular or plural...?
    For example, if we say " Neither Paul nor James were at home yesterday"
    is that correct?
    Others said " Neither lisa nor Julie likes icecream"
    so, wich one is correct?
    Thanks very much

  2. #2
    Soup's Avatar
    Soup is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: neither...nor...single or plural?

    Quote Originally Posted by patorresz View Post
    Hello this is my first post here...me and my coworkers have a doubt, when using neither...nor ....do you use singular or plural...?
    For example, if we say " Neither Paul nor James were at home yesterday"
    is that correct?
    Others said " Neither lisa nor Julie likes icecream"
    so, wich one is correct?
    Thanks very much
    From neither nor. The Columbia Guide to Standard American English. 1993
    Neither is paired with nor as either is with or, and in those uses as conjunctions they pose usage problems of agreement. Usually they will take a singular verb if both parts of the structure are singular, as in Neither he nor his friend is ready, and if the first element is plural but the second element remains singular, the structure may still take a singular verb, as in Neither my friends nor my father is ready, although a plural is also possible. But if the second element is plural, the verb will almost always be plural: Neither my father nor his friends are ready. Agreement between neither/nor and the verb is frequently a matter of notional agreement: hence Standard English in all but its most Formal and Oratorical situations will usually accept either number of the verb.
    From In-depth Subject-Verb Agreement Study
    Subjects joined by or, nor, either/or, neither/nor require further analysis.

    Singular subjects joined by one of the above use the singular verb. (Try the word it with the verb to see if you've made the right choice).


    • The lettuce salad or the jello (it) is the least expensive. (it is)
    • Neither a cup of tea nor a bottle of pop (it) helps at this point. (it helps)


    Singular subjects mixed with plural subjects choose the verb form which corresponds to the closer or closest subject.

    • Neither Harry nor his friends see the danger. (they see)
    • Neither his friends nor Harry sees the danger. (he sees)

    See also this thread here (Post #4).

  3. #3
    SaiMadrid is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: neither...nor - singular or plural?

    I would always use neither... nor with a plural verb in the examples you asked about.

    Neither my mom nor my sister like shopping


  4. #4
    kiranlegend is offline Member
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    Default Re: neither...nor - singular or plural?

    Quote Originally Posted by SaiMadrid View Post
    I would always use neither... nor with a plural verb in the examples you asked about.

    Neither my mom nor my sister like shopping

    Neither my mom nor my sister likes shopping

    The subject in these cases will be the closest to the verb. Here, My sister is the subject, and hence the singular verb likes should be in agreement. :)

    I am not a teacher.

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    kiranlegend is offline Member
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    Default Re: neither...nor - singular or plural?

    Quote Originally Posted by patorresz View Post
    Hello this is my first post here...me and my coworkers have a doubt, when using neither...nor ....do you use singular or plural...?
    For example, if we say " Neither Paul nor James were at home yesterday"
    is that correct?
    Others said " Neither lisa nor Julie likes icecream"
    so, wich one is correct?
    Thanks very much
    Soup provided was excellent in the explanation part..

    Let me answer this question now, Neither Paul nor James were.. is incorrect. The other one is correct..

    I am not a teacher.

  6. #6
    kiranlegend is offline Member
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    Default Re: neither...nor - singular or plural?

    Quote Originally Posted by patorresz View Post
    Hello this is my first post here...me and my coworkers have a doubt, when using neither...nor ....do you use singular or plural...?
    For example, if we say " Neither Paul nor James were at home yesterday"
    is that correct?
    Others said " Neither lisa nor Julie likes icecream"
    so, wich one is correct?
    Thanks very much
    Soup was excellent in the explanation part..

    Let me answer this question now, Neither Paul nor James were.. is incorrect. The other one is correct..

    I am not a teacher.

  7. #7
    soutter is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: neither...nor - singular or plural?

    Generally, the phrases either or and neither nor are a singular choice from two things (just one or not one); therefore

    1)
    Either his cat or his dog has to be taken to the vets.
    Neither his cat nor his dog has to be taken to the vets.

    But sometimes there might be a choice between one group (singular) and a second group of more than one person (plural) or vice versa.

    Another rule can be used if using Number One sounds weird: when using or or nor, the verb agrees with the nearer subject.

    2)
    Neither his cat nor its kittens (plural) have (plural) been seen.

    or

    3)
    Neither the kittens nor their mother (singular) has (singular) been seen.

  8. #8
    A_Arya is offline Newbie
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    Question Re: neither...nor - singular or plural?

    Hi All,
    Thanks for explanations :)

    But I want to know about Either...or . Does same rule apply for it too as Neither..nor ?

    Thanks in advance !

  9. #9
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    Default Re: neither...nor - singular or plural?

    This comes under Subject-verb agreement where a singular subject is followed by a singular verb.

    Neither...nor
    Either...or

    are classified under singular. Therefore, you should say:


    • Neither Paul nor James was at home yesterday.
    • Either Paul or James comes to work on Sundays.


    However, the verb must also follow the subject closest to it. Therefore:


    • Neither the boys nor Mrs. Li knows what happened.
    • Either Mrs. Li or the boys know what happened.

    Hope this helps

    Check this site. It might help:
    Subject and Verb Agreement | Grammar Rules

    Regards
    Kev



    Quote Originally Posted by patorresz View Post
    Hello this is my first post here...me and my coworkers have a doubt, when using neither...nor ....do you use singular or plural...?
    For example, if we say " Neither Paul nor James were at home yesterday"
    is that correct?
    Others said " Neither lisa nor Julie likes icecream"
    so, wich one is correct?
    Thanks very much

  10. #10
    Federica is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: neither...nor - singular or plural?

    Hi everybody!
    I'm a new entry here..and I've just read this thread.. Can I ask a question too?
    If I say "Neither my sister nor I .... English" what verb shoud I use? are? or am?
    Thank you very much..and sorry if I made mistakes..I'm italian,and I'm 19!
    P.s. corrections are welcome!

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