neither from, nor from vs. negative + either from, or from

Discussion in 'English Only' started by JBPARK, May 24, 2012.

  1. JBPARK Senior Member

    These people are facing the difficulty of getting their identity recognized neither from the U.S. government nor from the country they fled from.

    These people are facing the difficulty of not getting their identity recognized either from the U.S. government or from the country they fled from.

    These people are facing the difficulty of getting their identity recognized either from the U.S. government or from the country they fled from.


    Good Afternoon,

    I am totally confused as to whether I should use "neither/nor" or "either/or" in the above case.
    All three of them sound somewhat off to my ears. (But I am anchoring my hopes on the last one, though.)
    For some reason, it's slowly dawning on me that the phrase, "facing the difficulty", which, I think, sort of carries a negative connotation on its own, might be the cause of the problem.

    Have I set myself up for a grammar disaster by trying to associate the notion of "facing the difficulty of" with the "neither/nor, either/or" construction?

    Is any one of the three sentences usable? or the whole thing is a sort of mess and requires extensive rewrites?
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2012
  2. owlman5

    owlman5 Senior Member

    Colorado
    English-US
    Of the three sentences in your examples, I find the second one easiest to understand. You might consider breaking this sentence into two smaller ones to avoid confusing your reader.
     
  3. wandle

    wandle Senior Member

    London
    English - British
    Unfortunately, your sentence as whole is badly written and is not natural English. It is not clear what the sentence is meant to say.

    In particular, 'from' is the wrong word here: it should be 'by'; what is more, the phrase 'difficulty of getting' a thing implies that the people are trying hard to get that thing. In this context, when you combine that phrase with the following negative, you are suggesting that people are trying hard to have their identity unrecognised.

    It would be better to rewrite, taking 'the problem' as your initial subject and then defining it simply:
    'The problem these people face is that their identity is recognised neither by A nor by B.'
    The phrase 'is recognised neither by A nor by B' is equivalent to 'is not recognised either by A or by B'.
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2012
  4. JBPARK Senior Member

    Would it be an accurate read on your opinion to say; the first and second ones both make grammatical sense, but the second is a lot better in terms of readability and understandability, while the third one is flat-out ungrammatical?
     
  5. JBPARK Senior Member

    That was exactly what I was afraid I was getting into. Thanks for pointing that out:thumbsup:

    And thanks for the suggestion.
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2012
  6. wandle

    wandle Senior Member

    London
    English - British
    On the other hand (continuing from post 3), if you definitely need to express the difficulty of getting recognition, you then cannot use a following negative: you must use 'either ... or'.

    'These people unfortunately face extreme difficulty in getting their identity recognised either by A or by B.'
     
  7. Thomas Tompion Senior Member

    Southwest France
    English - England
    Hello JBPark,

    1. Doesn't work because there's an extra negative - the difficulty lies in getting recognised, so you need either rather than neither.

    2. Doesn't work because there's an extra negative - the difficulty lies in getting recognised, not in not getting recognised.

    3. Is nearly OK, but you need to say '...by the U.S. government or by the country they fled from'.
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2012
  8. JBPARK Senior Member

    Thank you for such a concise and easy-to-understand explanation.

    (Duh~ as to the "by" mistake.)
     

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