Neither/nor: She isn't easily persuaded. She doesn't listen to the advice of friends.

c310

New Member
English
How can I connect these two sentences using neither/nor:

She isn't easily persuaded. She doesn't listen to the advice of friends.

a) She is neither easily persuaded nor listens to the advice of friends.

b) She neither is easily persuaded nor listens to the advice of friends.

c) She is neither easily persuaded nor does she listen to the advice of friends.

d) She neither is easily persuaded nor does she listen to the advice of friends.

Which of those is correct? More than one? Or is there another acceptable answer?
 
  • manon33

    Senior Member
    English - England (Yorkshire)
    How can I connect these two sentences using neither/nor:

    She isn't easily persuaded. She doesn't listen to the advice of friends.

    a) She is neither easily persuaded nor listens to the advice of friends.

    b) She neither is easily persuaded nor listens to the advice of friends.

    c) She is neither easily persuaded nor does she listen to the advice of friends.

    d) She neither is easily persuaded nor does she listen to the advice of friends.

    Which of those is correct? More than one? Or is there another acceptable answer?
    c sounds most natural to me. b and d don't work well, becasue the 'neither' needs to be as close as possible to the first thing that she doesn't do, i.e. 'is easily persuaded'.
     

    c310

    New Member
    English
    Thanks for your reply. I thought so too, but I am wondering why a) wouldn't work. I agree that c sounds most natural, but is there a rule that would make a) unacceptable, or is it just a usage issue that makes a) seem awkward?
     

    johndot

    Senior Member
    English - England
    The reason a) and b) don’t work is because you are mixing active and passive in the same phrase. Both c) and d) use the auxiliary do which separates the two voices.
     

    c310

    New Member
    English
    Thanks for your reply. That makes sense, but what about:

    The lion is neither seen by the wildebeast nor sleeps during the night.

    THis sentence is awkward, but is it incorrect grammatically? It mixes active and passive.


    Thanks again!
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    Welcome to the forum, C310.

    "Neither ... nor ..." generally requires parallel elements. In this case, the two sentences to be combined are decidedly unparallel, so there is no good way to combine them with "neither ... nor ..." without some reworking of the phrasing.

    a) She is neither easily persuaded nor listens to the advice of friends. :cross:
    A past participle and a present-tense predicate are not parallel.

    b) She neither is easily persuaded nor listens to the advice of friends. :cross:
    Two complete predicates might be parallel, but in this case the first predicate is normally stressed on the third word, and the whole verb phrase "is easily persuaded" is contrasted with the one word listens.This sentence is more natural than the others, but is still faulty. It seems to say "she is not easily persuaded to the advice of friends."

    c) She is neither easily persuaded nor does she listen to the advice of friends. :cross:
    A past participle is not parallel to a clause.

    d) She neither is easily persuaded nor does she listen to the advice of friends. :cross:
    This version lends itself to a more "parallel" stress pattern, but a predicate is not really parallel to a clause.

    One natural combination uses nor to link two clauses but does not use neither:

    She is not easily persuaded, nor does she listen to the advice of friends.

    Otherwise one or the other of the original sentences to be combined needs to be reworked to be parallel to the other:

    She is neither easily persuaded nor receptive to the advice of friends.
    She neither accepts friendly persuasion nor listens to the advice of friends.
    She accepts neither persuasion nor advice, even from friends.

    EDIT: "The lion is neither seen by the wildebeest nor sleeps during the night" has the same problem as (a). Both sentences are understandable but not well constructed.
     
    Last edited:

    johndot

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Yes indeed, Forero, that is exactly the explanation that I was trying to compose!

    Just one quibble though; I don’t regard the first of your last three suggestions as being parallel:

    She is neither easily persuaded nor receptive to the advice of friends.

    And I don’t think it’s any better after this modification:

    She is neither easily persuaded by nor receptive to the advice of friends.
     

    c310

    New Member
    English
    Thanks so much for such a clear explanation. Of course, it wouldn't be uncommon to hear most of these combinations used in speaking. Still, ESL/EFL students tend to prefer prescriptive rules of grammar, and parrallelism in writing is still important, at least it was last time I checked, so thanks again!
     
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