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|English to English translations [PRO]|
Other / Grammar help
|English term or phrase: Neither... nor (+ verb)|
|Help! I wasn't sure where to ask this, since i don't hang out with English Profs all that much. I'm trying to find out about "neither, nor" as subject.|
I know the verb should agree with the subject of the "neither" clause : ex., Neither the Broncos nor the Patriots WERE the winners of the game. (both bron & pat are plural - at least i hope this is the rule).
ex2: Neither Aggisi nor Nadal WAS the winner.
Where my question is, is with "I" sentances.
Neither John nor I am/is/are the winner of the game.
Sorry to ask here, but I know there are some smart proscriptive grammarians who can aid me. :-)
|English translation:neither he nor I am|
I wanted to post this in the 'ask asker' window, but the window is too small. I also wanted to write 'see below' but Kudoz disallowed it.
The 'correct' grammar, as explained below, sounds so 'wrong' to my ears that rather than obey it I would rephrase the sentence to read 'Neither of us is..."
Apparently you must say 'neither he nor I am...' Neither we nor Shirley wants.. Neither he nor the Reds want...
Here is the explanation:
5. Neither/nor and either/or are a special case. If two subjects are joined by or or nor, the verb should agree with the subject that is closer to it.
If the conjunction nor appears in a sentence with neither; or the conjunction or with either, then the "neither/either" rule as stated above* no longer applies. That is, if you see "neither" followed by "nor," or "either" followed by "or," you can't automatically assume that the verb should be singular, as we did in the last section. "Neither…nor" and "either…or" means, at least in the world of GMAT grammar, "be careful."
In these constructions, "neither" and "either" are no longer the subjects of their sentences. Instead, they function as conjunctions, working in pairs with "nor" and "or" to join two other subjects in the sentence. When this occurs, the verb agrees with whichever subject is closer to it. Try to memorize this, if you can.
This "neither…nor" sentence contains two subjects: "supervisor," and "staff members." (Why is "client" not a subject too? Because in these situations, the subjects are the two nouns immediately following the words "neither" and "nor".) Since the latter subject, "staff members," is plural, we therefore need a plural verb, too. The plural verb "were" is correct.
This example is identical, grammatically, to the one above, except that the correlative conjunction joining the subjects is "either/or." The verb must therefore agree with the subject closest to it, which is "child," a singular noun. The proper verb form is the singular, "is."
Remember to apply this rule only when both items of the pairs "neither/nor" and "either/or" are present in the sentence.
* "4. Neither and either always take singular verbs when acting as the subject of a sentence."
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