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'Nor have you' or 'neither have you'? Options
Mavan
Posted: Friday, May 10, 2013 2:55:34 AM
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Location: Australia
Hi,

When are 'Nor have you' and 'neither have you' used?

For example, if someone comments "you haven't changed", which of the two options can we use to reply?

Thank you!
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Friday, May 10, 2013 4:00:29 AM

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Location: Livingston, Scotland, United Kingdom

"You, too, haven't changed!"

Actually, I would use one of the choices you gave.
I have heard both many times, and they seem equally popular to me.
In all categories ('English', 'American' and 'British'), the the Google n-gram viewer shows "Nor have you." being more popular for the last two hundred years. However in English Fiction, "Neither have you." has become slightly more popular in the last ten years.

I could see someone looking at the dictionary definitions of the words "neither" and "nor" and saying that they are both wrong. However those are the phrases most commonly used.
thar
Posted: Friday, May 10, 2013 4:14:58 AM

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I must be under that influence. To me it feels slightly more natural to say:
"Neither have you"

possibly because the other word order could only use 'neither' with the other pronouns:
"Me neither."

But 'nor' sounds right as well. If I were too lazy for two syllables, I might go for it Whistle
"Nor 'ave you!"

Pretty interchangeable really. Another one for the the precision of grammar guides or the messiness of natural usage!
I think that grammatically it should be 'nor'; 'neither' introduces the two negatives, it really should not be used for the second one only. But it feels more natural (in certain circumstances like the OP sentence). Whistle

Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Friday, May 10, 2013 6:21:24 AM

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I don't think I have ever looked up "nor" in a dictionary before.

Now that I do, I find that nor 'neither', nor 'nor' could really be considered wrong, since 'nor' is simply an abbreviation for 'neither', in essence.

One would expect "nor" to replace "not-or", but this doesn't work.
In fact, with many 'double negative' sentences, one could use 'neither' or 'nor', and sometimes 'not-and' and only occasionally 'not-or'. There does not seem to be an easy rule, as to which ones 'work' and which ones don't.

I am not too old, neither are you.
I am not too old, nor are you.
I am not too old, and you are not.

I am not too old, or you are not.

I am not too old, nor too young.
I am not too old, or too young.
I am not too old, and not too young.

I am not too old, or not too young. (very dubious. It makes sense, but doesn't sound right).

Nevertheless, the "neither ... nor" construction is, of course, the standard, traditional phrase, where it fits easily.
SinTax
Posted: Friday, May 10, 2013 2:00:16 PM
Rank: Newbie

Joined: 5/6/2013
Posts: 27
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Location: California
I offer no grammatical or semantic explanation. I rely on my ear as a native speaker of English.
In the US we would say: Neither have you
Mavan
Posted: Tuesday, May 14, 2013 7:55:53 AM
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Location: Australia
Thank you all for your very informative responses. I found all explanations very useful. I myself felt that 'neither' or 'nor' would fit in alright. But wasn't sure if one was more grammatically acceptable than the other. Thanks once again all!
NancyUK
Posted: Wednesday, May 15, 2013 8:48:48 AM
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There is a slight feel of a 1940s film of a Noel Coward story about the use of "Nor you" or "Nor have you", even though I agree with other posters that either is grammatically correct.
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Wednesday, May 15, 2013 10:18:58 AM

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Huh! I'm not quite that old yet! I've a good mind to hit you with my walking-stick, but I need help getting out of the chair...



[image not available]
NancyUK
Posted: Wednesday, May 15, 2013 10:46:27 AM
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Drag0nspeaker wrote:

Huh! I'm not quite that old yet! I've a good mind to hit you with my walking-stick, but I need help getting out of the chair...



[image not available]


I neither said nor implied that you, Dragon, or any other person contributing to TFD, saw the aforementioned film at the cinema when it was first screened in the 1940s. Whistle Furthermore, I do not undertake to specify either the date on which I first saw the film or my age at the time when the film in question was seen by me. Dancing

Disclaimer: please note that the above post is intended as a jest, joke or pleasantry and is not intended to annoy, anger or offend. Speak to the hand
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Wednesday, May 15, 2013 11:19:00 AM

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Joined: 9/12/2011
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Location: Livingston, Scotland, United Kingdom
Applause Applause
coag
Posted: Wednesday, May 15, 2013 1:42:57 PM

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NancyUK wrote:

I neither said nor implied that you, Dragon, or any other person contributing to TFD, saw the aforementioned film at the cinema when it was first screened in the 1940s. Whistle Furthermore, I do not undertake to specify either the date on which I first saw the film or my age at the time when the film in question was seen by me. Dancing

Disclaimer: please note that the above post is intended as a jest, joke or pleasantry and is not intended to annoy, anger or offend. Speak to the hand


NancyUK, your reply is very nice and very instructive (neither, either examples).
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