neither


neither
/nee"dheuhr, nuy"-/, conj.
1. not either, as of persons or things specified (usually fol. by nor): Neither John nor Betty is at home.
2. nor; nor yet; no more: Bob can't go, and neither can I. If she doesn't want it, neither do I.
adj.
3. not either; not the one or the other: Neither statement is true.
4. not either; not one person or the other; not one thing or the other: Neither of the suggestions will do. Neither is to be trusted.
[1150-1200; ME, equiv. to ne not + EITHER; r. ME nawther, OE nawther, nahwaether (na not, NO1 + hwaether which of two; see WHETHER)]
Usage. As an adjective or pronoun meaning "not either," NEITHER is usually followed by a singular verb and referred to by a singular personal pronoun: Neither lawyer prepares her own briefs. Neither performs his duties for reward. When NEITHER is followed by a prepositional phrase with a plural object, there has been, ever since the 17th century, a tendency, especially in speech and less formal writing, to use a plural verb and personal pronoun: Neither of the guards were at their stations. In edited writing, however, singular verbs and pronouns are more common in such constructions: Neither of the guards was at his station.
As a correlative conjunction, NEITHER is almost always followed by nor, not or: Neither the liberals nor the conservatives had originally supported the winner. Subjects connected by NEITHER ... NOR take singular verbs and pronouns when both subjects are singular (Neither Diane nor Nicole has her own apartment), plural when both are plural: Neither the Yankees nor the Dodgers got much help from their bull pens that year.
Usage guides commonly say that when a singular and a plural subject are joined by these correlative conjunctions, the noun or pronoun nearer the verb should determine the number of the verb: Neither the mayor nor the council members have yielded on the issue. Neither the council members nor the mayor has yielded on the issue. Practice in this matter varies, however, and often the presence of one plural, no matter what its position, results in a plural verb.
In edited writing the construction following NEITHER is parallel to the one following NOR: The great days of American political oratory are neither dead nor waning (not neither are dead nor waning). This sale sacrifices neither quality nor availability (not This sale neither sacrifices quality nor availability).
Although some usage guides say that NEITHER may introduce a series of no more than two, it often is used to introduce a series of three or more: The head of that department is neither skillful nor well-prepared nor honest. See also either.

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • neither — 1. pronunciation. Both pronunciations, niy dhǝ and nee dhǝ, are about equally common. 2. parts of speech. Neither functions in two ways: as an adjective or pronoun, and as an adverb or conjunction. a) adjective and pronoun. Neither means ‘not the …   Modern English usage

  • Neither — Nei ther, conj. Not either; generally used to introduce the first of two or more co[ o]rdinate clauses of which those that follow begin with nor. [1913 Webster] Fight neither with small nor great, save only with the king. 1 Kings xxii. 31. [1913… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • neither — [nē′thər, nī′thər] adj., pron. [ME naither, altered (by assoc. with eyther, EITHER) < nauther < OE na hwæther, lit., not whether (see NO1, WHETHER), not either of two] not one or the other (of two); not either [neither boy went; neither of… …   English World dictionary

  • Neither — Nei ther (n[=e] [th][ e]r or n[imac] [th][ e]r; 277), a. [OE. neither, nother, nouther, AS. n[=a]w[eth]er, n[=a]hw[ae][eth]er; n[=a] never, not + hw[ae][eth]er whether. The word has followed the form of either. See {No}, and {Whether}, and cf.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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  • neither — (conj.) O.E. nawþer, contraction of nahwæþer, lit. not of two, from na no (see NO (Cf. no)) + hwæþer which of two (see WHETHER (Cf. whether)). Spelling altered c.1200 by association with either. Paired with NOR (Cf …   Etymology dictionary

  • neither — ► DETERMINER & PRONOUN ▪ not the one nor the other of two people or things; not either. ► ADVERB 1) used before the first of two (or occasionally more) alternatives (the others being introduced by ‘nor’) to indicate that they are each untrue or… …   English terms dictionary

  • neither — nei|ther [ niðər, naıðər ] function word, quantifier *** Neither can be used in the following ways: as a way of showing how a sentence or clause is related to what has already been said: I can t play tennis, but neither can you. as a conjunction… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • neither */*/*/ — UK [ˈnaɪðə(r)] / UK [ˈniːðə(r)] / US [ˈnɪðər] / US [ˈnaɪðər] conjunction, determiner, pronoun Summary: Neither can be used in the following ways: as a way of showing how a sentence or clause is related to what has already been said: I can t play… …   English dictionary

  • neither — nei|ther1 W3 [ˈnaıðə US ˈni:ðər] determiner, pron not one or the other of two people or things →↑either ▪ Would you like tea or coffee? Neither, thanks. ▪ It was a game in which neither team deserved to win. neither of ▪ Neither of them can cook …   Dictionary of contemporary English