r when unstressed
) KEY CONJUNCTION:
- And not; or not; not either: has neither phoned nor written us; life forms that are neither plants nor animals.
Middle English : ne
; see no1
; see or1Usage Note:
When using neither
in a balanced construction that negates two parts of a sentence, nor
) must be used in the second clause: She is neither able nor (not or) willing to go.
Similarly, when negating the second of two negative independent clauses, nor
) must be used: He cannot find anyone now, nor does he expect to find anyone in the future; Jane will never compromise with Bill, nor will Bill compromise with Jane.
Note that in these constructions, nor
causes an inversion of the auxiliary verb and the subject (does he ... will Bill ...
). However, when a verb is negated by not
and is followed by a verb phrase that is also to be negated (but not an entire clause), either or
can be used: He will not permit the change, or (or nor) even consider it.
In noun phrases of the type no this or that, or
is actually more common than nor: He has no experience or interest (less frequently nor interest) in chemistry. Or
is also more common than nor
when such a noun phrase, adjective phrase, or adverb phrase is introduced by not
: He is not a philosopher or a statesman. They were not rich or happy.
See Usage Notes at neither