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ESL forum > Techniques and methods in Language Teaching > Use of Neither    

Use of Neither



Ruwayda37
Egypt

Use of Neither
 
Fill in using a possessive adjective: Neither Jack nor Jane has ..... book. Thanks in advance.

8 Sep 2020      



douglas
United States

their
 

8 Sep 2020     



Ruwayda37
Egypt

Many thanks.

8 Sep 2020     



esl-teacher
Peru

I think it canīt be has or books because you are talking about neither of them, so it has to be Neither Jack nor Jane have their books.

8 Sep 2020     



Ruwayda37
Egypt

Shouldnīt we use a singular verb if the last subject joined by neither .. nor ... is singular?

8 Sep 2020     



douglas
United States

Typically yes, but for normal use we use the plural because the subjects mixed gender ( both male and female). If they were same gender we could use:
 
Neither Jane nor Paula has her book.
 
 
Note:Their as a singular pronoun is becoming more accepted in these days of gender neutral/ gender inclusive writing and speaking.
 

9 Sep 2020     



ninon100
Russian Federation

Yes, we should use a singular verb.
HAS, not have, because the last subject is singular.
 BUT: The exercise is incorrect in itself! I could also say
Neither Jane nor Jack has MY/YOUR/OUR/HIS/HER book.
And every single one of them is gramatically correct depending on the meaning.
 

9 Sep 2020     



douglas
United States

https://ell.stackexchange.com/questions/132425/their-or-his-or-her-in-a-sentence-using-neither-nor
 
 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Singular_they
 
 
Common use allows for "their" in most cases--itīs been used as singular for  along time (even Shakespeare used it that way).
 
 
 
 

9 Sep 2020     



cunliffe
United Kingdom

Their. Douglas is right and this usage is becoming more and more the norm. 

9 Sep 2020     



almaz
United Kingdom

Yes, their is appropriate. And as has already been indicated, singular their is of ancient pedigree; the first recorded use was in the Wycliffite Bible of 1382: "Eche on in þer craft ys wijs(that þ symbol – īthornī – represented voiced th in Middle English).
 
On the neither...nor front, Iīm with Merriam-Websterīs Dictionary of English Usage:
"Neither...nor with two (or more) singular subjects [...] is governed by notional agreement and may take either a singular or a plural verb, as if the writer were imagining it as the negative of īeither this or thatī or the negative of īboth this and thatī. When the subjects are plural, or the last subject is plural, a plural verb is expected."
 
 

10 Sep 2020