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    #1

    Question Use of 'neither+nor' etc

    Got confused!
    Neither you nor I will ever know ....
    Neither you nor did I .....
    I have seen both the sentences in an English novel, in the first sentence 'will' comes after I but in the second 'did' comes before I.
    The second one seems to be more common then why should not we follow the same rule in the first sentence?
    What are the limitations and rules for such sentences where we use either+or, whether+or or neither+nor?
    Views welcome
    Thanks

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    #2

    Re: Use of 'neither+nor' etc

    Context is important.

    Your first example is fine: the two subjects have been identified and placed before the verb.

    The second looks very strange to me and I would like to say it's clearly wrong, but there might be an unusual context that makes it reasonable. I can't think of one though.

    For me, the most important point with these combinations is not to use 'either' or 'neither' with too many items. They are strictly for a choice between two: either this or that, neither the one nor the other. We should not say, for example, that tomorrow it will be either raining, snowing or sleeting.

    (No doubt if enough of us make this mistake it will become 'acceptable' and be supported by a dictionary.)

    This rule does not apply to 'whether...or', for which you can have as many choices as you like!

    Take care where you position the first part of the combination. To say "You can neither have chocolate nor ice-cream until tomorrow" is wrong. Can you see why?

    I'll let someone else come up with more information on this one.

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    #3

    Re: Use of 'neither+nor' etc

    Can you not explain where will we make the difference in saying 'nor will I' OR 'nor I will', 'nor am I' 'nor I am', any grammar rules for such usage?
    And with two or more items what will we use then?
    Can we not say
    tomorrow it will be either raining or snowing or sleeting.
    You said it's incorrect to say "You can neither have chocolate nor ice-cream until tomorrow".
    What will be the correct form then?
    Thanks

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    #4

    Re: Use of 'neither+nor' etc

    Quote Originally Posted by The Dude View Post
    Context is important.


    Take care where you position the first part of the combination. To say "You can neither have chocolate nor ice-cream until tomorrow" is wrong. Can you see why?
    Will it be "You can neither have chocolate nor can you have ice-cream until tomorrow"?
    Last edited by Barb_D; 13-Mar-2011 at 15:43. Reason: fixed formatting

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    #5

    Re: Use of 'neither+nor' etc

    Quote Originally Posted by hznaeem View Post
    Can you not explain where will we make the difference in saying 'nor will I' OR 'nor I will', 'nor am I' 'nor I am', any grammar rules for such usage?
    That's a different use of 'nor'. as in:

    Luke: Lindsay won't be here tomorrow.
    Emma: Nor/Neither will John,
    or: John won't, either.

    Wendy: I am not enjoying this conversation.
    Stan: Nor/Neither am I.
    or: I'm not, either.

    Sally: I don't like beer.
    Barry: Nor/Neither do I.
    or: I don't, either.

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    #6

    Question Re: Use of 'neither+nor' etc

    Hi thanks for the info, as you said that's a different use, can you please explain in detail both the usage with examples? I am still confused. Thanks

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    #7

    Re: Use of 'neither+nor' etc

    I'll explain my example further:

    'either...or' and 'neither...nor' are distinguishing between two (only) choices. Those choices could be the subject, the object or even the verb of a sentence.

    If you position 'neither' (or 'either') before the subject, then the other choice will be another subject, not a verb or an object. This is the case in your first example: 'neither you nor I...'.

    The same happens with the verb: "You must either eat or drink something today".

    And with the object (indirect or direct): "I'll give this present to either Rob or Lucy, it doesn't matter which one receives it." "I'll give either this present or that one to Rob. It doesn't matter which one he receives."

    So the deliberate mistake in my earlier post is that I put 'neither' before the verb, but 'or' before the object. Well done with your corrected version, which shows that you worked this out. There is a simpler alternative, however: "You can have neither chocolate nor ice-cream until tomorrow." which avoids repeating the subject and verb.

    To answer your other question: with more than two items, there are several possibilities. Remembering that we are still choosing only one item, we could say:
    In the positive: "I can choose the course I want to do - physics, chemistry, computers or maths."
    In the negative: "I couldn't see, hear, smell or speak after my accident."
    In those examples I just put a comma after every item until 'or' (with no comma) before the last one.
    Another option is to use 'any', 'any one' or 'none' and leave out the list of items. So:
    "If I had to choose any one of those subjects, it would be maths."
    "None of the corners of a square can be more than 90 degrees."

    Final note: because 'either' and 'neither' are a choice that allows you to pick just one of two items, the verb must be singular. Don't say "neither of them are handsome", although I'm sorry to say that many English speakers do.

    So can you now tell me how to express my earlier thought about the weather tomorrow (raining - snowing - sleeting)?

    I'll let fivejedjon tell you more about his examples of another use of 'either' and 'neither'.

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    #8

    Re: Use of 'neither+nor' etc

    Quote Originally Posted by The Dude View Post
    I'll let fivejedjon tell you more about his examples of another use of 'either' and 'neither'.
    And you were doing so well!

    When we want to say that we did the same thing as another person, we can indicate the idea of 'also' with too in affirmative sentences, either in negative sentences:

    Peter: Mary went to the reception yesterday
    Alan: Christine went to the reception, too.

    Luke: Lindsay won't be here tomorrow.
    Emma: John won't be here, either.

    The 'addition' sentence can be shortened by omitting the main verb. If there is no auxiliary verb in the original, we use DO:

    Peter: Mary went to the reception yesterday
    Alan: Christine did, too.


    Luke: Lindsay won't be here tomorrow.
    Emma: John won't, either.

    The shorter sentences can be re-worded, with subject-verb inversion, replacing too by so and either by neither (or nor). As both neither and nor are in themselves negative words, we leave out the not (n't) of the original:


    Peter: Mary went to the reception yesterday
    Alan: So did Christine.


    Luke: Lindsay won't be here tomorrow.
    Emma: Neither/Nor will John.

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    #9

    Re: Use of 'neither+nor' etc

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    And you were doing so well!
    That attention-span problem again...

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    #10

    Re: Use of 'neither+nor' etc

    Quote Originally Posted by The Dude View Post
    That attention-span problem again...
    That's why I didn't go into detail in my earlier post.

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