Using "neither" after negative modals

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Using "neither" after negative modals

Postby Reaperjim » 01 May 2012, 17:14

I saw a book in which a sentence was written as follows:

"You shouldn't either play or relax."

This just seems off to me. I have never a structure like this before, and I wanted to see what other people thought. I always thought it would be:

"You should neither play nor relax."
Madam Speaker said,
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Re: Using "neither" after negative modals

Postby finley » 01 May 2012, 17:39

Yes, it's wrong, and your version is correct. Alternatively, 'either' could be omitted. And it's a stupid sentence anyway.
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Re: Using "neither" after negative modals

Postby urodacus » 01 May 2012, 17:53

Well, it's not gratuitously, egregiously, devastatingly wrong. It's just a bit off, and some might go so far as to say that it was neither your place nor mine to judge!
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Re: Using "neither" after negative modals

Postby Charlie Jack » 01 May 2012, 19:15

If it's a sin, it seems to be a member of your better class of sins.

The practice of infant baptism was barely commended; and the article on the Lord's Supper expressly affirmed that a faithful believer ought not either believe in or openly confess the real presence and that transubstantiation was an impossibility.
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Re: Using "neither" after negative modals

Postby Chris » 02 May 2012, 00:29

Reaperjim wrote:"You shouldn't either play or relax."

Yes, it seems off to me too. But I don't think it's grammatically wrong; just unnatural, unidiomatic.

"You should neither play nor relax."

Much better.
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Re: Using "neither" after negative modals

Postby the bear » 02 May 2012, 09:18

Chris wrote:
Reaperjim wrote:"You shouldn't either play or relax."

Yes, it seems off to me too. But I don't think it's grammatically wrong; just unnatural, unidiomatic.

"You should neither play nor relax."

Much better.


The whole neither/nor thing sounds archaic to me. I know its right but at the same time I would never knowingly use it unless in very formal writing.
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Re: Using "neither" after negative modals

Postby Incubus » 02 May 2012, 11:38

And then there's the all-time mistake committed by English native speakers -- Me neither. :no-no:
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Re: Using "neither" after negative modals

Postby lostinasia » 02 May 2012, 14:04

Incubus wrote:And then there's the all-time mistake committed by English native speakers -- Me neither. :no-no:

Hold on - what? So should we say "Me either"? Or do you mean "Neither do I"?
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Re: Using "neither" after negative modals

Postby Dragonbones » 02 May 2012, 14:13

Incubus wrote:And then there's the all-time mistake committed by English native speakers -- Me neither. :no-no:


What about this?
Sally: The dog didn't bite me.
Bob: Me neither.
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Re: Using "neither" after negative modals

Postby Incubus » 02 May 2012, 16:09

lostinasia wrote:
Incubus wrote:And then there's the all-time mistake committed by English native speakers -- Me neither. :no-no:

Hold on - what? So should we say "Me either"? Or do you mean "Neither do I"?


Well, I'd always thought "me either" was the correct way until I saw your post. So I looked it up. And what do you know.

http://public.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/meeither.html

I stand corrected. :oops:
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