One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
pronoun & determiner
Not the one nor the other of two people or things; not either.as determiner ‘neither side of the brain is dominant over the other’as pronoun ‘neither of us believes it’
- ‘For a while you could get it on the Wayback Machine but it's gone even from there and neither of us thought to make new copies.’
- ‘It is the kind of connection the human heart longs to make, and neither of them mistake it for what it is not.’
- ‘With neither of them in the first flush of youth, he worries about what will happen to his collection when he is gone.’
- ‘I've run second a few times but neither of us had won the entire series of games previous to this!’
- ‘I suppose it's because neither of the Scottish sides have made the breakthrough yet.’
- ‘The marriage was finally approved, but the bride was married with neither of her parents at her side.’
- ‘Legal Aid told him that neither of them were into such stuff and eventually he put the phone down.’
- ‘Despite the big numbers, neither of the town's MPs claimed as much in expenses as they could have.’
- ‘In theory, we were going to walk up the thousand steps, but neither of us could be bothered.’
- ‘Upon realising my error, it all felt a bit awkward, but neither of us could bring ourselves to mention my faux pas.’
- ‘We arrived fashionably late and neither of us had any supper so we thought we'd grab a bite there.’
- ‘We have been speaking regularly and neither of us has had too much sleep.’
- ‘So neither of them moved, and the algae that grows on the sloth's fur got to the finish line first.’
- ‘Great effort from the edge of the box - neither of these two sides is prepared to settle for a draw.’
- ‘Except he would take cream with his coffee and neither of us would smoke.’
- ‘A quick flick of the head confirms neither of the other two are objecting.’
- ‘The problem, at least for those holidaying in Gibraltar, is that neither of these hotels has a beach.’
- ‘He disagrees but neither of us can fight the fact that things are weird.’
- ‘During dinner we were given something that neither of us had seen before.’
- ‘A battle between father and son is about to erupt, though neither of them realise it yet.’
1Used before the first of two (or occasionally more) alternatives that are being specified (the others being introduced by “nor”) to indicate that they are each untrue or each do not happen.‘I am neither a liberal nor a conservative’
2Used to introduce a further negative statement.‘he didn't remember, and neither did I’
When neither is followed by nor, it is important in good English style that the two halves of the structure mirror each other: she saw herself as neither wife nor mother rather than she neither saw herself as wife nor mother. For more details, see either The use of neither with another negative, as in I don't like him neither or not much good at reading neither is recorded from the 16th century onward, but is not thought to be good English. This is because it is an example of a double negative, which, though standard in some other languages such as Spanish and found in many dialects of English, is not acceptable in standard English. In the sentences above, either should be used instead. For more information, see double negative.
Middle English: alteration (by association with either) of Old English nawther, contraction of nāhwæther (from nā ‘no’ + hwæther ‘whether’).
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