Meaning of NEITHER in English

NEITHER

I

adverb

1

BAD : Inside the examination room we could neither smoke or talk.

GOOD : Inside the examination room we could neither smoke nor talk.

BAD : His parents neither shouted at him or smacked him.

GOOD : His parents neither shouted at him nor smacked him.

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neither ... nor ... (NOT neither ... or ... ): 'The sales assistant was neither friendly nor helpful.'

Compare: 'You can either come with me or wait here.'

2

BAD : I have neither studied the language nor the culture.

GOOD : I have studied neither the language nor the culture.

◆◆◆

Neither should be placed immediately before the first of the connected items and nor immediately before the second. Compare: 'I have neither studied nor experienced the culture.'

II

pronoun

1

BAD : Neither John's father nor mine couldn't understand the problem.

GOOD : Neither John's father nor mine could understand the problem.

◆◆◆

After neither and neither ... nor ... the verb is affirmative (NOT negative): 'Neither applicant had the right qualifications.' 'Neither the teachers nor the students had been informed.'

2

BAD : Neither teachers are coming.

GOOD : Neither teacher is coming.

GOOD : Neither of the teachers is coming.

◆◆◆

After neither + singular noun, the verb is singular: 'Neither player wants a transfer.'

After neither of + plural noun, careful users prefer a singular verb: 'Neither of the players wants a transfer.' Some people use a plural verb, especially in informal styles: 'Neither of the players want a transfer.'

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