Neither... nor

This grammatical construction may seem a bit complicated at first. It happens most of all because it's quite difficult to remember several rules at once and follow a certain structure in a sentence. Let's see how we use 'Neither... nor' step by step.

When do we use 'neither... nor'?

We use 'neither... nor' when we want to connect two negative ideas, states, facts, alternatives, etc. In this case, paired with 'nor', 'neither' acts as a conjunction though it has a function of a determiner when it's used alone. 

Look at the example below πŸ‘‡

Neither John nor Sarah passed the exam yesterday.

As we see from the example, 'neither... nor' connects two subjects – John and Sarah – with the meaning that they both didn't pass the exam yesterday. Another important thing that goes from the example is that we have the only negative construction in a sentence and it is 'neither... nor'.

Here comes a very important rule πŸ‘‡

We use only positive verbial constructions with 'neither... nor'.

Masks Are Neither Effective Nor Safe: A Summary Of The Science.

Neither Democrats nor Republicans are perceived to be meeting the needs of America well as we head into the November election.

... neither Biden nor Trump will help U.S. dollar.

Verb after 'neither... nor'

It is another issue that confuses many learners. How do we use verbs after 'neither... nor'?

So, here comes the second rule πŸ‘‡

The verb agrees with the subject that stands closer to it.

Take a look at the example πŸ‘‡

Neither John nor Sarah goes to the shop.

As we see from the example, the verb 'goes' agrees with the closest subject – Sarah. That is why we don't say 'go' as we instinctively think because we have two subjects.

Then, we have the third rule πŸ‘‡

We use singular verbs with 'neither... nor'. You can get more information about it here

For example πŸ‘‡

Neither the CSE nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the CSE) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.

Neither Becciu nor his replacement have been formally identified as suspects in the case...

More examples πŸ‘‡

One game defines neither, nor do two, but next week’s match will produce many more premature conclusions than this wet and windy wild one in Wellington.

O'Malley Dillon stressed that neither Allen nor the flight crew member had been in contact with former Vice President Joe Biden...

What, after all, does a Dalit labourer have? He has neither money nor influence.

Take a quiz πŸ”₯

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Neither smoking nor drinking ____ allowed.
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We use singular verbs with 'neither... nor'. You can revise the information here.