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    #1

    Post the use of 'neither of'

    In our country, all teachers from state high school overly emphasize on accuracy of grammar points. They think that 'Neither of' must go together with only singular verb form. In my opinion, it can be used with both plural and singular form. They also assume that 'neither of' demands singular form so respective possessive pronoun must be in singular. They argue that only singular form of possessive pronoun must be used.

    e.g Neither of the brothers does his homework.

    However, in my opinion, it is lso acceptable if the student writes like this ' Neither of the brothers does their homework'.
    What is the difference between these sentences.? Is my opinion acceptable.? Please help
    Last edited by Rover_KE; 12-Jan-2016 at 19:00. Reason: Deleting 'dear'.

  1. Piscean's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: the use of 'neither of'

    In 'Neither my sister nor my brother does ____ homework', I think 'their' is perfectly acceptable. However, in your sentence, I see no reason to use 'their'. 'His' is correct and natural. If you use 'their', it could give the impression that they have a shared homework assignment.

  2. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: the use of 'neither of'

    Please end your questions with a question mark only.

    Frankly, I don't ask myself what's acceptable. I ask myself what makes sense. When you say that neither of the brothers did his homework it is perfectly clear what that means. However, when you say that neither of the brothers did their homework it makes me think that one of them was supposed to do not only his homework but other's as well.

  3. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: the use of 'neither of'

    Please correct the information in your profile, aalwin.
    “Every miserable fool who has nothing at all of which he can be proud, adopts as a last resource pride in the nation to which he belongs; he is ready and happy to defend all its faults and follies tooth and nail, thus reimbursing himself for his own inferiority.”

    — Arthur Schopenhauer

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    #5

    Re: the use of 'neither of'

    "Brothers" tells us that they are both male, so there is no need to use the plural form. The plural is used to avoid using male pronouns where the antecedent may be mixed male and female.

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    #6

    Re: the use of 'neither of'

    I agree that "Neither of the brothers does their homework" is fine. However, style guides frowned on this usage until quite recently. Your teacher is following the rule he or she* was taught.

    Teaching of foreign languages inevitably lags behind current usage. There's rarely anything wrong with using English as it's taught, though, so I recommend following your teacher's guidelines. You can catch up with current usage later; it won't be terribly different from what you're learning.

    *Nowadays, "they were taught" would be accepted by many editors but some people still dislike it.
    I am not a teacher.

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