Friday, December 28, 2012

Word Choices (Part 1 of 6)

Watch your nors.

I read these two sentences recently and both are incorrect.

1. Hilda didn't want his money nor his property. Bad word choice.

2. Neither John or Ralph planned to attend Samantha's wedding.

Think of neither and nor as a couple, because they don't like being separated. (And both words start with the letter n, to remind you.) If you invite one of them into your sentence, you want to include the other.

Neither and nor are two words 
that always appear together.

3 comments:

  1. Hello, Cec!
    I know this is the rule, right. Why does it feel so right, though, to say:
    "I do not want your money; nor do I want your sympathy."
    Is it just from hearing it misused for ages, or are their times when convention allows us to say it wrong, as long as we don't write like we speak?

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  2. We can write or speak any way we choose. I see grammatical errors in print all the time. Yesterday, I read this sentence in a book by a famous author: Who do you want to see?
    That's incorrect. It should have read: Whom do you want to see?
    I could say: Neither the woman nor her copyeditor knew that it should be whom because whom it's the direct object of see.
    Because something doesn't sound right to your ear may mean you've heard it wrong so often, you don't know how it should sound.

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What are your thoughts?