(neither) nor

Beverly Flanigan flanigan at OHIO.EDU
Tue May 8 15:46:10 UTC 2007

Yes, I get "nor" for "or" often in student papers, as well as "neither ...
or".  French speakers often delete "ne" in favor of simple "pas" too,
right?  Ditto for Spanish "ni ... ni"?  In these two languages, multiple
negation is OK, of course; but might English speakers think that "neither
... nor" is the deadly double negative to be avoided at all costs?  The
cited writer, by the way, is a high muckety-muck in our local medical college.

At 11:24 AM 5/8/2007, you wrote:
>---------------------- Information from the mail header
>Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>Poster:       "Arnold M. Zwicky" <zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU>
>Subject:      Re: (neither) nor
>On May 8, 2007, at 7:25 AM, Beverly Flanigan wrote:
> > Has anyone ever heard this kind of phrase sans "neither":
> > "Kent Smith nor anyone from that office was present . . . ."
> > The meaning was clearly "neither KS nor anyone else ...."
>lovely.  surely there are more cites to be found.  the negative
>disjunction is signaled perfectly well by "nor" (that is, the
>"neither" is, technically, redundant), and for positive disjunction,
>both "either... or" and simple "or" (without "either") are possible,
>so simple "nor" would be an entirely natural development.
>(query: are there good treatments of the alternation between
>"either... or" and simple "or"?)
>as far as i can tell, MWDEU doesn't mention simple "nor".  it does
>have treatments of "neither... or" and of "nor" for "or" in negative
>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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