Difference Between Neither and Nor

Neither vs Nor

Neither and nor are words in English language that are used for negative expressions. In fact, both are buddies and most often used together to indicate double negatives. Nor mostly follows neither in a sentence and reflects the fact that the pairing is there to express a negative though one should avoid the mistake of a double negative. Neither and nor are used for two people and things and in general one should avoid their use when talking about more than 2 people. There are some differences between neither and nor that will be talked about in this article.

When you see neither and nor in a sentence, you must realize that it means not the first person and not the second person. Take a look at the following sentence.

For the first time in the last 11 years, neither Nadal nor Federer are there in the top two rankings in Tennis.

The sentence simply means that both Federer and Nadal are absent from the top 2 ranks for the first time since 2003. This sentence can be written alternatively as no Federer or Nadal in top 2 of Tennis since 2003.

If you dislike two food items and avoid both all the time, you can make use of neither and nor to let others know about your dislikes. Take a look at the sentence below.

I like neither tomato sauce nor mustard sauce.

This is enough to let your friends know about your dislikes. If there is a third item that you would like to your list of dislikes, you can do so by using second nor at the end of the sentence like this.

I like neither tomato sauce nor mustard sauce nor ketchup.

What is the difference between Neither and Nor?

• Both neither and nor are used to express a negative but nor is always used in the presence of neither and follows it.

• On the other hand, neither can be used alone in a sentence. This can be seen in sentences with ‘neither of the two’. If you want to say that both shoes are uncomfortable for you, you have to say that neither shoe makes you feel comfortable.

• If you are making use of neither and nor, you want to convey the negative impression for both persons and objects. Neither Jack nor Helen was present at the party means that both of them were absent.