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Neither vs. Nor — What's the Difference?

Edited by Tayyaba Rehman — By Fiza Rafique — Updated on September 27, 2023
"Neither" indicates not one or the other of two, while "Nor" is a coordinating conjunction used to introduce a further negative statement.
Neither vs. Nor — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Neither and Nor


Key Differences

"Neither" is used to suggest that two options are equally undesired or irrelevant. On the other hand, "Nor" functions as a coordinating conjunction to extend the negation already in place.
When using "Neither" at the beginning of a sentence, it's common to pair it with "Nor" to express two negative alternatives. For example, "Neither the dog Nor the cat was found."
Grammatically, "Neither" can stand on its own to deny both parts of a previous statement. In contrast, "Nor" usually requires a preceding negative element, often introduced by "Neither."
In some sentences, "Neither" operates as a pronoun, while "Nor" typically doesn't. For instance, when saying, "Neither of the options is viable," "Neither" acts as a pronoun.
It's essential to maintain parallelism in structure when using both "Neither" and "Nor." For instance, "Neither John Nor Mary was available" is correct, whereas "Neither John Nor was Mary available" is not.

Comparison Chart

Primary Role

Denies both of two alternatives
Extends a negative statement


Can stand alone
Often requires a preceding negative element


Can start a sentence
Typically doesn’t start sentences

Use as a Pronoun


Compare with Definitions


An adverb to negate actions or qualities of two subjects.
They were neither happy nor sad.


A conjunction introducing another negative element.
I don't like broccoli, nor do I like spinach.


A pronoun to represent two choices negatively.
Neither of them wanted to go.


Used with "Neither" for presenting two negative options.
Neither the father nor the son was present.


Not the one nor the other of two people or things; not either
Neither side of the brain is dominant over the other
Neither of us believes it


To continue a negation.
He's not a doctor, nor is he a nurse.


Not the one nor the other of two people or things; not either
Neither side of the brain is dominant over the other
Neither of us believes it


Extending a negative statement.
She didn't call, nor did she write.


Used before the first of two (or occasionally more) alternatives (the others being introduced by ‘nor’) to indicate that they are each untrue or each does not happen
I am neither a liberal nor a conservative


To express an additional negative fact or alternative.
It won't help you, nor will it harm you


Used to introduce a further negative statement
He didn't remember, and neither did I


And not; or not; not either
Has neither phoned nor written us.
Life forms that are neither plants nor animals.


Not one or the other; not either
Neither shoe feels comfortable.




Not either; not in either case. Used with the correlative conjunction nor
Neither we nor they want it. She neither called nor wrote. I got neither the gift nor the card.


A logical operator that consists of a logical OR followed by a logical NOT and returns a true value only if both operands are false.


Also not
If he won't go, neither will she.


(literary) And... not (introducing a negative statement, without necessarily following one).
Nor did I stop to think, but ran.
They are happy, nor need we worry.


Similarly not; also not
Just as you would not, so neither would they.


A function word introducing each except the first term of a series, indicating none of them is true.
I am neither hungry nor thirsty nor tired.


Not one of two; not either.
Neither definition seems correct.


Used to introduce a further negative statement.
The struggle didn't end, nor was it diminished.


Not either (used with nor).
Neither you nor I like it.


He's no better nor you.


Not either one of two.
I’ve tried on both shirts, but neither fits properly.


Alternative form of NOR


Similarly not.
Just as you would not correct it, neither would I.
Neither can she stop him, nor can he stop her.
Neither now, nor ever will he forsake his mother.


A negative connective or particle, introducing the second member or clause of a negative proposition, following neither, or not, in the first member or clause (as or in affirmative propositions follows either). Nor is also used sometimes in the first member for neither, and sometimes the neither is omitted and implied by the use of nor.
Provide neither gold nor silver, nor brass, in your purses, nor scrip for your journey.
Where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt.
I love him not, nor fear him.
Where neither party is nor true, nor kind.
Simois nor Xanthus shall be wanting there.


Not either; not the one or the other.
Which of them shall I take?Both? one? or neither? Neither can be enjoyed,If both remain alive.
He neither loves,Nor either cares for him.


Not either; generally used to introduce the first of two or more coördinate clauses of which those that follow begin with nor.
Fight neither with small nor great, save only with the king.
Hadst thou been firm and fixed in thy dissent,Neither had I transgressed, nor thou with me.
When she put it on, she made me vowThat I should neither sell, nor give, nor lose it.


After a negative statement used to indicate that the next statement is similarly negative;
I was not happy and neither were they
Just as you would not complain, neither should he


Not one or the other.
Neither choice seems appealing.


Used to introduce the first negative alternative.
Neither the rain nor the wind stopped him.

Common Curiosities

When should I use "Neither"?

Use "Neither" to indicate not one or the other of two options.

Can "Neither" be used alone?

Yes, "Neither" can stand alone to negate both parts of a statement.

How does "Nor" function in a sentence?

"Nor" introduces a further negative statement, especially after "Neither."

Do I always need "Neither" to use "Nor"?

Not always, but "Nor" often follows a preceding negative element.

How do I maintain parallelism with "Neither" and "Nor"?

Ensure both parts being negated are in the same form.

Is "Nor" a negative conjunction?

Yes, it introduces another negative element in the statement.

Can I use "Nor" with negative verbs other than "Neither"?

Yes, as in "He doesn’t eat meat, nor does he consume dairy."

Can "Neither" act as a pronoun?

Yes, as in "Neither of the options is good."

Can "Neither" start a sentence?

Yes, especially when followed by "Nor," as in "Neither the dog nor the cat was found."

Can "Neither" imply a preference?

"Neither" typically negates both options without indicating a preference.

How many options can "Neither" negate?

"Neither" is specifically for negating two options.

Can "Nor" stand alone?

Typically, "Nor" needs a preceding negative statement.

Are "Neither" and "Nor" interchangeable?

No, they have distinct roles in a sentence.

Is "Nor" used in positive statements?

No, "Nor" is used to extend or introduce negative statements.

Does "Nor" always follow "Neither"?

Often, but not always. "Nor" can follow other negative statements.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Fiza Rafique
Fiza Rafique is a skilled content writer at, where she meticulously refines and enhances written pieces. Drawing from her vast editorial expertise, Fiza ensures clarity, accuracy, and precision in every article. Passionate about language, she continually seeks to elevate the quality of content for readers worldwide.
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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