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Alexia

Hello Sir,

I am in a dispute with my know-it-all boyfriend about the use of "I" and "Me" in a sentence. I am sure this is a very elementary question but any help you can offer would be greatly appreciated.

I feel that the following is correct;

That is what the girl told me and my friends.

My boyfriend feels that the first sentence should say;

That is what the girl told my friends and I.

Ben

Message for Alexia:

Your boyfriend is wrong. You wouldn't say 'That is what the girl told I' because the 'I' is not the subject of the sentence and should therefore be 'me'.

For the same reason, you shouldn't say 'my friends and I' unless it is the subject of the sentence: 'My friends and I went to the movies.'

Pooja

i need to know more about either and neither. how we can use both in one sentence.

Janet

I agree that "officially" either and neither, when they modify singular nouns, take a singular verb. However, the use of a singular verb in the case of a "neither ... nor" construction is not logical, in spite of what the usage experts tell us. Compare the following: "Either" indicates that two nouns/pronouns behave differently. They act individually. "Either Jack or Jill was carrying the water." In this case, we acknowledge that only ONE (a singular subject)was burdened. "Neither ... nor," however, could be construed as a plural, could it not? "Neither Jack nor Jill is graceful" means BOTH lack grace. "Jack and Jill are clumsy." Logically, "neither x nor y" means "both x and y," and that construction is plural. Just food for thought.

Andreas

Dear Sir,

what about this sentence:
None of these cars are neither black nor white.

I think that is a double negation and that is not "nice". Is it possible to use, is it bad english?
I would prefer to write:
None of these cars are either black or white.
So what is your opinion?
Thanks for an answer.

Crawford Kilian

Your first sentence is indeed a double negative and therefore unacceptable. In the second sentence, we can simply drop their "either":

None of these cars are black or white.

anonymous

I have a few questions about "Neither" vs. "Either":

"Not this or that either"
"Not this or that neither"

"Not this nor that either"
"Not this nor that neither"

"Not this and not that either"
"Not this and not that neither"

Which are correct?

maja

dear Sir,
can you tell me which of these two sentences is correct?

I can't either dance or sing.
I can't neither dance nor sing.

thank you

Crawford Kilian

"Either" is a "positive" word because it refers to something that is real or true: Either John or Bill is going to the meeting. No matter what, one or the other of them will be at the meeting.

"Neither" is a negative word: Neither John nor Bill is going to the meeting. No matter what, those two will not be at the meeting!

So in the sentence you give, we would not say "can't neither" because that would be a double negative. So we would say: I can neither dance nor sing.

And that is true about me: I can neither dance nor sing!

Jennifer

I am Canadian and I started teaching English in Japan recently. At the beginning, I kept thinking that teaching English is a breeze. However, I now come to realize that my grammar actually sucks! Teaching English is just not easy at all! I would love to ask you a question which might sound a little stupid. What is the difference between ME EITHER and ME NEITHER? Is Me either bad English? I look forward to hearing your favourable advice!

Crawford Kilian

The expression should "Me neither"—for example:
I don't like driving in heavy traffic.
Me neither.

It's the same as "Neither do I," but it's colloquial, not grammatical. "Me either" doesn't make sense—it would be like saying "Either you or I like driving in heavy traffic." Since the first person has said she doesn't like such driving, "Me either" would mean that the second person does enjoy it.

Cal Bacon

As I understand it, the neither/nor construction refers to two items. This is part of a sentence from a lawyer, who was asked to rewrite the bylaws for our club. "Neither members, trustees nor officers shall receive any fee, salary or remuneration..." Is this incorrect? Or is another 'nor' implied by placing a comma between members and trustees?

Crawford Kilian

Your lawyer is right, Cal, and so are you—the comma implies a "nor."

Jennifer

I just came up with a question about using singular or plural after nouns. For example, 1. I have no idea about it. 2. I have no ideas about it. Which is grammatically correct? More examples such as, I have no problems with it, I have no friends... Should I keep them plural or singular? Also, 1. Skin care products are for improving the condition of our skin.
2. Skin care products are for improving the condition of our skins, which is correct? I have been thinking over this again and again, but still have no clue (no clues???) about it. Please help me here!

Jennifer

I just came up with a question about using singular or plural after nouns. For example, 1. I have no idea about it. 2. I have no ideas about it. Which is grammatically correct? More examples such as, I have no problems with it, I have no friends... Should I keep them plural or singular? Also, 1. Skin care products are for improving the condition of our skin.
2. Skin care products are for improving the condition of our skins, which is correct? I have been thinking over this again and again, but still have no clue (no clues???) about it. Please help me here!

Elisha Vishinpir

Neither Ben's friends nor Ben was/were early for the conference.

Neither the house nor its furnishings is/are new.

Question : I need to understand when it should be is or are and was or were. What part of the sentence will help me determine accurate usage.

Crawford Kilian

With an either/neither subject, the verb agrees with the noun that is closer. So in your examples, we should write:

Neither Ben's friends nor Ben was...
Neither the house nor its furnishings are...

"Ben" is closer to the verb "was," and "furnishings" is closer to the verb "are."

Thanks for a good question!

Mary Huff

Hi Sir,

Trying to find the grammar rule for the following type of sentence:

Neither Sally nor you is/are going to the concert.

When you have "you" as one of the subjects, is the noun plural or singular?

Crawford Kilian

The verb is going to be singular since the subject is Sally OR you--but not both. Since the verb agrees with the closer noun or pronoun, it should be "Neither Sally nor you are going to the concert."

Put "you" first, and the verb changes: "Neither you nor Sally is going to the concert."

Judy

I was wondering which of the following is correct:

Either of the cars seem to be worth the price.
Either of the cars seems to be worth its price.
Either of the cars seems to be worth their price.

Thanks.

Crawford Kilian

Hi, Judy--

The second sentence is correct. "Either" is singular, and the prepositional phrase "of the cars" doesn't change to plural. It's exactly like saying, "One of the boys is working."

Erhan

Hi,

What about this sentence? Does it sound bad?

"I hope we will meet up again in either Turkey or Egypt or Canada."

And I hope you are not angry to me for that question :).

Thanks

Crawford Kilian

This whole blog is built on questions like yours, Erhan, so I'm not angry at all!

The sentence you offer is fine, but "meet up" is a little casual. "Meet" would be preferable.

Netto

Dear Teacher,
After reading about 'either, neither', I still have a question for you. Can I say 'I can't either dance or sing'. Howeve, I know that either means one or the other, i still would like to know wether this construction is valid or not. Thank you very much.

Crawford Kilian

Hi, Netto--

We would say "I can neither dance nor sing."

We would say "can't either" only in this usage:

"I can't dance or sing," said Netto.

"I can't either," said Crawford (and it's sad but true!).

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