Student or Learner
Would you be kind enough to explain to me, certainly if you are able to at all, the difference in the following two sentences concerning the singular and plural?
Neither handmaid nor Kemp was to be seen. (Wells)
This afternoon neither you nor I were thinking of getting married. (Gow and D’Usseau).
Thank you for your efforts.
The trouble is, either form can be used, a singular or plural verb.
It makes more sense to stick with a singular verb is both subjects are singular. However, if one of the subjects is plural, place it closest to the plural verb e.g.
Neither the handmaiden nor the milkman was to be found.
Neither the handmaiden nor the other servants were to be found.
(As recommended by Oxford Guide to Eng. Usage)