English Grammar Step by Step
SO, NEITHER, NOR, EITHER
1 Examples: (Use so and the words in brackets.)
—I’ve got a terrible cold. (I)
—So have I. (interrogative order, or inversion)
a My father has been a pilot for ten years. (mine)
b I’m going to the hairdresser’s. (I)
c I want to become a plumber when I grow up. (Peter)
d He bought a bottle-opener. (my grandmother)
e We should visit our parents. (they)
f Mary lives abroad. (Amanda)
g I’ll see to it right away. (I)
h John teaches French. (Michael)
i Anita reads a lot. (the people next door)
j You are getting on my nerves. (you)
2 Example: (Use so and the words in brackets.)
I love peanunts. (my wife)
I love peanunts, and so does my wife.
a This barrel is leaking. (that one)
b We are going to follow their advice. (Molly)
c Our cat miaows every night. (hers)
d My uncle always apologises when he does something
wrong. (my aunt)
e Brenda is an air-hostess. (Nancy)
f She worships money. (her husband)
g You always arrive late. (your partner)
h Paul plays cards once in a blue moon. (Richard)
i He spent all his wealth on charity organisations.
j He stepped in a dog’s excrement. (she)
3 Examples: (Use neither or nor, and the words in brackets.)
—I won’t/will not accept bribes. (I)
—Neither/Nor will I. (‘Nor’ is less formal.)
Barely, escarcely, hardly, never, and so on, have a negative
meaning. Consequently, they are treated as negatives:
I never eat garlic.
Neither do I.
See also units 3 (section 11) and 14 (section 9).
a Our friendship will never perish. (theirs)
b I wasn’t introduced to the monarchs. (Gertrude)
c Her daughter doesn’t take care of her. (her son)
d They won’t refund me the money I paid for it. (we)
e They didn’t take him seriously. (you)
f They couldn’t have given themselves up to the police.
g I wasn’t informed of your resignation. (my nephew)
h He didn’t know that you’ve been given the sack.
i They weren’t caught red-handed. (Gloria)
j I don’t want to grow old. (we)
4 Examples: (Use neither or nor, and the words in brackets.)
They didn’t get lost. (I)
They didn’t get lost, and neither/nor did I.
But is sometimes used instead of and: They didn’t get lost,
but neither/nor did I.
a I never carry a revolver. (Alan)
b They rarely brush their teeth. (Linda)
c He isn’t a cook. (she)
d She wasn’t sent to jail for theft. (her husband)
e The shops weren’t shut. (the restaurants)
f My sister never takes things for granted.
g I didn’t subscribe to his point of view. (my friends)
h We didn’t accept the harsh reality. (they)
i We won’t polish the floor. (she)
j I needn’t wash the dishes. (my sister)
5 Revision exercise.
a You will be put behind bars. (I)
b He wasn’t tired out. (Rita)
c We were outraged by her behaviour. (we)
d We should memorise it word for word. (you)
e They won’t let you by. (he)
f I can’t work out how much it will cost us. (I)
g You should slow down at weekends. (your partner)
h She refuses to talk to me. (her father)
i I didn’t witness the accident. (my children)
j Edgar and Jane have missed their flight. (we)
k Her children mean the world to her. (her husband)
l He gave the lurid details of his crime. (his lawyer)
m Gloria didn’t scorch your jacket. (Constance)
n My history teacher failed me without any concern.
(my literature teacher)
o Her story made me cold with fear. (his)
p Her boy-friend sat next to me. (her sister)
q His grandad heard her saying that we are very spoilt.
r My son came home roaring drunk last night. (mine)
s She’s got a henpecked husband. (her sister)
t Raymond dropped us a line. (Philippa)
u Olive didn’t curl her hair. (Nicola)
v He wasn’t shaken by the death of his ex.
w We walked arm in arm along the corridor. (they)
x We’re heading for Colombia. (we)
y The main character in my novel is a little girl.
(the main character in my novel)
z Her uncle is loaded. (her man)
6 Examples: (Now use either)
—I won’t eat this porridge. (he)
—He won’t (eat it) either.
I won’t eat this porridge, and/but he won’t (eat it) either.
a He didn’t pound on my door last night. (she)
b They don’t usually tease him. (we)
c We don’t have a spare wheel. (we)
d I can’t go step by step. (Sarah)
e They haven’t got a grater. (we)
f The motel wasn’t crowded. (the restaurant)
g Tom can’t milk a cow. (Sheila)
h I will never figure Steve out. (Peter)
i I’m not going to put up with her jokes any more.
j Annette wasn’t elected chairwoman at random. (her mother)
7 Examples: (either...or; neither...nor)
Either Eve or Ann is pulling my leg.
Neither Eve nor Ann is taking swimming lessons.
Either my nephew or my neighbours have made up the story.
Either my neighbours or my nephew has made up the story.
Neither the people next door (plural) nor Ann is honest.
Neither Ann nor the people next door are honest.
After either...or and neither...nor, the last element agrees
with the verb. Nevertheless, in more informal speech or
writing, we can find sentences such as Neither Eve nor Ann
are taking swimming lessons, which is possibly gaining
ground among English speakers.
Some people would avoid saying Either Peter or I am giving
Mary a lift to the station, and would use Either Peter or I
are giving Mary a lift to the station. Another alternative
to this sentence would be Either Peter or I will be giving
Mary a lift to the station.
Either...or and neither...nor can also be used in other
I drink neither coffee nor tea.
They neither speak English nor study French.
Either you help me or I’ll tell your parents what you
I want either a belt or some money.
You can either study or work.
Instead of neither...nor, not (...either)...or is usually
I don’t drink (either) coffee or tea.
I don’t speak (either) Italian or French.
Either can be ommitted here.
Either and neither must be followed by of if we have a
pronoun or a determiner + a plural form:
Neither of them is interested in your project.
Either of you has broken my coffee cups.
Neither of my sisters is abroad.
Either of these rooms will serve me as a study.
Nonetheless, we can leave out the prepositon of, and
use a singular noun:
Neither sister is abroad.
Either room will serve me as a study.
It is also possible to drop the preposition of +
the pronoun (or the determiner + the plural noun) when
there is no need to mention the people or things we are
Neither is abroad.
Either will serve me as a study.
And last, but not least, either and neither are used for
two people or things, or two groups of people or of things.
See unit 15, section 1.
Fill in the blanks with either, neither, of, nor, or, and
the appropriate form of the verbs in brakets:
a __________ you postpone the meeting __________ I (make)
sure you are not elected chairman of the committee.
b __________ you attend school __________ you (be expelled).
c Neither __________ them (be) intelligent.
d Neither Alfred __________ Jennifer (tolerate) her.
e __________ Paul nor his workmates (be) right.
f Either someone deceived her __________ she (make) up
g I can’t speak __________ Italian __________ Portuguese.
h They don’t wear shoes __________ skirts
i __________ child (be) studying hard. They will fail.
j John was __________ at home __________ at the library.
I looked for him in these two places, but he wasn’t there.
8 Examples: (neither...nor)
Neither Molly nor John is getting better.
Neither in general nor in detail do I agree with you.
Julia neither works nor studies.
Tom neither eats meat, nor does he drink alcohol.
They never take any chances, (and/but) nor do they trust
anybody, I must say.
In the first example, neither Molly nor John is the subject
of the sentence. In the second, neither in general nor in
detail is not the subject. Hence we need an interrogative
order, called inversion. In the third, we do not mention
the subject after nor; but, in the fourth, we repeat the
subject and, consequently, inversion is required. The same
goes for the fifth instance. Compare the second, fourth
and fifth sentences above with the following ones:
I agree with you neither in general nor in detail.
Tom neither eats meat nor drinks alcohol. (This
alternative is much preferred to the one with inversion.)
They neither take any chances nor trust anybody, I must
They never take any chances, but/and they do not trust
anybody either, I must say.
Write the verbs in brackets in the appropriate form. At
times, inversion is required.
a She neither makes up her face, nor she (dress) well.
b She neither makes up her face nor (dress) well.
c Cigarette factories are unwilling to recognise that
tobacco produces addiction. Nor they (wish) to admit
that many people die from it.
d I shall not allow a single spelling mistake in
your exam papers, nor Miss Wright (will).
e I know that neither Martha nor you (be) ill yesterday.
So why didn’t you attend school?
f Neither now nor in a hundred years they (find) out the truth.
g I don’t think she deserves such treatment, nor he (do).
h Neither Madrid nor Santander (be) bombed during the Second
i The mountains bends (be) neither sharp nor dangerous to drive.
j He did not clear up that rubble, nor he (buy) a sack
9 Revision exercise: (Rewrite the following sentences
without changing their meaning.)
If you don’t tell me the truth, I won’t forgive you.
Either you tell me the truth or I won’t forgive you.
a Her argument does not hold water. Yours doesn’t either.
b She is permissive. Her husband is also permissive.
c Marilyn didn’t stumble over a piece of wood. John didn’t
stumble over a piece of wood.
d —Her flowers withered.
—His flowers withered too.
e —I won’t tow his car to the local garage.
—I won’t either.
f Your handwriting is illegible. Hers too.
g We shall have to close the shop down. They will also have
to close down.
h Somebody is always picking on me for the worst jobs in this
factory. It must be either Ann or Molly.
i I fell for her. My friend too.
j I know this area like the back of my hand. She does too.
k She never blushes. She never smiles.
l The boys didn’t object to my smoking in the room.
m They don’t own a walled garden. I don’t either.
n Someone poisoned me. Tom and George are the only people who
could have done such a thing, but I know it was only one
o Mark didn’t miss the bus. His niece didn’t either.
p If you don’t give me a lollipop, I’ll tell dad.
q You will end up in a remand home unless you spill the beans.
r He is very immature for his age. You are too.
s Eric and Luke aren’t searching for adventure.
t She won’t take bribes. He won’t either.
u The two men will suit me perfectly, but I need only one
v I don’t care a damn. You don’t either.
w —I was fined two hundred pounds for dangerous driving.
—We were also fined two hundred pounds for dangerous driving.
x —I don’t dread crocodiles.
—I don’t either.
y If you don’t get rid of that horrendous toy, you’ll be
z His foster-brother lives for his wedding day. His future
wife does too.
For other structures with so, see unit 17, sections 5, 6 and 7.
The following sentence is synonymous with the one with so:
I have also got a terrible cold. As well and too are possible
instead of also, but they are placed at the end of the
sentence and are less formal: I’ve got a terrible cold
too/as well; or, I have too/as well. Me too is a very informal
alternative: ‘I’ve got a terrible cold.’ ‘Me too.’
See unit 29.
But can be used instead of and, but it is more emphatic:
I love peanunts, but so does my wife.
Neither is the opposite of so. Other alternatives:
I won’t/will not (accept bribes) either.
Me neither. (informal)
But is more emphatic than and.
Informally, we can use a plural verb after neither and
either + of + a pronoun (or a determiner + a plural noun):
Neither of them go(es) to church regularly.
Neither of the boys is/are from Manchester.
I don’t think either of them is/are capable of doing
such a thing.
Either of these two girls is/are suitable for the job.
For inversion, see unit 29.
Author: Miquel Molina i Diez
Pages: 1 and the key
1 Negative and interrogative sentences (Page 2 and the key)
2 Short answers (Page 2 and the key)
3 Question tags (Page 2 and the key)
4 Questions and exclamations (Page 2 and the key)
5 So, neither, nor, either (the key)
6 Be, used to, would, be/get/become used to, dare, have, get, become, grow, go, turn, fall and feel (Page 2 and the key)
7 Verb tenses: forms (Page 2 and the key)
8 Irregular verbs
9 Verb tenses: uses (Page 2, Page 3, Page 4, Page 5 and the key)
10 Personal pronouns, possessives and reflexive pronouns (Page 2 and the key)
11 The genitive case (the key)
12 Singular and plural nouns (Page 2 and the key)
13 Gender (the key)
14 A, an, some, any, no, not, none, each, every and the; compounds of some, any, no and every (Page 2, Page 3 and the key)
15 Neither, not...either, none, not...any, both and all (the key)
16 A few, few, a lot, lots, a little, little, many, much, no and plenty (the key)
17 Enough, too, so and such (the key)
18 Comparative and superlative sentences (Page 2 and the key)
19 Adjective order (the key)
20 Relative clauses (Page 2 and the key)
21 Do and make (the key)
22 Modal verbs (Page 2, Page 3 and the key)
23 Infinitives, gerunds and present participles (Page 2 and the key)
24 Conditional sentences (Page 2 and the key)
25 Passive sentences (the key)
26 Reported speech (Page 2 and the key)
27 Purpose (the key)
28 Word order (the key)
29 Inversion (the key)
30 Connectors (Page 2 and the key)
31 Prepositions (Page 2, Page 3 and the key)
32 Phrasal verbs (the key)