Neither and nor

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Be careful that the two words neither and nor match in your academic writing. (In this, as in so many areas, spoken English has far looser rules.) They should be used in a similar matched pair to either and or.

Either and or offer a clear (positive) choice between two things. "You may have either tea or coffee"; "you should take the elective in either French or Spanish"; or, in an examination, "Attempt either Section 1 or Section 2." (See also either.)

Neither and nor do not offer a choice. It is a negative message. They say "not one AND NOT the other". (It may help you to think of this as '..AND not the other one either', which is also idiomatic.)

A reply to the first example above might be, "No thank you; I drink neither tea nor coffee." If you took neither French nor Spanish, you would have gone against the advice you were given, while if you tried to answer neither Section 1 nor Section 2 you would deserve to fail the examination.

For pronunciation of the word neither, see either - neither.