HomeQ&ANi...ni and a plural verb

Ni...ni and a plural verb

1
vote

In Latin American Spanish, we say "Ni el hombre ni la mujer están hablando." while in English we would say Neither the man nor the woman is (está) talking. In Spanish we do say "Ninguno de los muchachos está hablando." with the same verb (singular) as in English. Can you explain the difference? Thanks.

3771 views
updated ENE 20, 2014
posted by Dennis_kovach

2 Answers

2
votes

Neither...nor isn't all that commonly used (by me anyway!), and sounds somewhat old-fashioned to my ears, but I believe that the verb conjugation depends on the subject closest to the conjugated verb. Therefore:

Neither the man nor the woman is talking (the woman is singular and dictates that it should be 'is')

None of the people are talking (the people in English being plural)

The second sentence sounds more natural to me.

updated ENE 20, 2014
posted by torrontes75
Alternatively you could say 'Neither of the people are talking' - torrontes75, FEB 28, 2010
1
vote

torrontes75 added a comment to her post:

Alternatively you could say 'Neither of the people are talking'

I don't know that much about grammar, learning it now as I study Spanish, but I (born, brought-up, and schooled in the US Midwest) might rather have said "Neither of the two people is talking." And might usage be different in other English-speaking countries?

You might want to pose your question to the "grammar lady" or the grammar girl.

Be sure to then let us know the answer!!

updated ENE 20, 2014
posted by Janice
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