Or, nor or neither?
Using the word ‘or’ is a no-brainer for most people. As a way of offering two alternative things, we use the word ‘or’ in everyday speech without thinking or worrying about it.
- I can be happy or sad, depending on the weather
- Would you prefer to ride the elephant or the rhino?
What about the word ‘nor’? It’s not quite so straight forward… ‘Nor’ often sounds a bit formal, a bit awkward and perhaps a bit old fashioned, so many of us abandon it altogether, but when things turn negative ‘nor’ should step in:
- I feel neither happy nor sad when it rains
- Neither elephants nor rhinos are found in this zoo
Confused? Let’s get practical. Take a look at these sentences:
Which one is correct?
A: I’m not bored or tiered, I just can’t be bothered
B: I’m not bored nor tiered, I just can’t be bothered
A: There aren’t any antelopes nor any dogs here
B: There aren’t any antelopes or any dogs here
Hope that helps. Continuing the mission to stamp out sloppy copy, look out for my next blog on ‘IS or ARE.’
Looking for a Brighton copywriter with a grip on grammar? I’m here