HomeQ&ANor and neither. Do you use them?

Nor and neither. Do you use them?

7
votes

I think all native English speakers use the word neither. We especially use it in the very popular, but apparently (according to my research) incorrect "Me neither", which is the equivalent of saying, for example:

A: I don't like broccoli. B: Me neither (Me don't like broccoli).

Or at least that is the fruit my research yielded. Feel free to comment on that.

The question is: nor. I remember my grade 8 teacher putting a big red circle around my 'nor' in grade school because she said it was an archaism that isn't used in real modern English. It's been about 8 years and I have not yet recovered haha.

So I want to get the opinion of my fellow language geeks. Is nor dead?

Would you use it in this sentence?

I don't like the red one (n)or the blue one.

Or this sentence:

(Neither) the red one (n)or)/(and) the blue one (don't) satisfy me.

If I've overlooked some perennial use of nor that could save it from the ever widening abyss of dead words please tell me!

6890 views
updated ABR 28, 2010
edited by puravidacanuck
posted by puravidacanuck

9 Answers

4
votes

Let me add that if there are two negatives in a sentence and the first is preceded by "neither," the use of "nor" preceding the second negative is required. There is no other grammatically correct construction. I believe what your teacher was trying to convey is that using nor to begin a sentence or a clause is a bit formal. "I wouldn't trust him with my car. Nor would I let him babysit my kids." Nevertheless, while it is formal, it is neither incorrect nor archaic.

updated ABR 28, 2010
posted by ocbizlaw
4
votes

Your teacher was absolutely wrong!

Neither my dog nor my cat has fleas (note that each animal is individual so it's not "have" fleas as many people would say. This is one of my pet peeves along with expression "less people live in Fresno than Los Angeles. It should be "fewer" people. But neither Los Angeles nor Fresno have the population of New York City.

In addition, "nor" need not follow "neither." "She doesn't sing, nor does she dance."

This reminds me of the Paul Simon song "Kodachrome." "When I think back on all the crap I learned in high school, it's a wonder I can think at all."

updated ABR 28, 2010
edited by ocbizlaw
posted by ocbizlaw
neither Los Angeles nor Fresno has the population of New York City. - samdie, ABR 28, 2010
3
votes

From a linguist's perspective, if you can say it and native speakers understand you, then it's okay. Your teacher was probably thinking in terms of grammar, though. grin

If you want to use "nor," you must use "neither" with it. You cannot split them up in this case. If you don't use the word "neither," then you need to say "or" rather than "nor." You can either say: "I neither like the red one nor the blue one," or "I don't like the red one or the blue one."

updated ABR 28, 2010
posted by KayT
2
votes

"Water, water everywhere. Nor any drop to drink."

Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night shall stay these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds'

You can't do that nor can I.

Neither do I. / Nor do I.

'nor' is alive and well in my idiolect.

updated ABR 28, 2010
edited by samdie
posted by samdie
2
votes

I wouldn't ever say "me neither." I'd say "neither do I." I think this is based on my English major experience.

updated ABR 28, 2010
posted by --Mariana--
Yes, I use Neither do I and suspect that "me neither" is a USA term. - lagartijaverde, ABR 28, 2010
1
vote

Here's a USA use of "me neither" link text Ahh, "men in hats!" grin

That's what a tele is for!! This is mine link text It's 1978. Great guitar, so versatile, I even use it for jazz

I use "nor" if a "neither" is somewhere "back there" in the sentence. But, somebody says "I don't like Brad Pitt" I might answer "Nor do I" and get away with it, but, "Neither do I" is better

updated ABR 28, 2010
edited by lagartijaverde
posted by lagartijaverde
1
vote

I don't use that and neither should you!

(Just kidding!)

updated ABR 28, 2010
posted by Gekkosan
Jejeje....good one! - --Mariana--, ABR 28, 2010
1
vote

A: I don't like broccoli. B: Me neither (Me don't like broccoli).

B should be, Neither do I.

I don't like the red one (n)or the blue one. Or is correct.

(Neither) the red one (n)or)/(and) the blue one (don't) satisfy me.... Neither the red one nor the blue one satifies me.

Satisfy must be singular because you are saying, Not one satifies me.

updated ABR 27, 2010
edited by 005faa61
posted by 005faa61
1
vote

I'm a native english speaker and I don't really use nor. I'm sorry but I agree with your teacher! I would say: I don't like the red one or the blue one. But I use neither- If someone said "I don't like broccoli" I would say "Me neither".

So yeah, I hope this helps- neither and or not nor!

updated ABR 27, 2010
posted by April-Sarah
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