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either/or and neither/nor

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correlative conjunctions either/or and neither/nor

By Mary Morel

Either/or and neither/nor connect two balanced words, clauses or phrases. They are called correlative conjunctions.

Singular or plural verb?

When two singular subjects are connected by either/or or neither/nor, use a singular verb.

Either Sally or Peter is invited.
Neither Sally nor Peter is invited.

if one of the subjects is plural, the verb agrees with the closest subject.

Either the secretaries or manager decides the menu.
Neither the bats nor the cat wakes me at night.

Because this can sometimes seem clumsy, we tend to put the plural subject closest to the verb.

Either the manager or secretaries decide the menu.
Neither the cat nor the bats wake me at night.

Learn more about correlative conjunctions and other aspects of grammar with one of my online courses:

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