Could you please explain the meaning of the sentence given below, and whether its grammar is appropriate and/or correct.

Neither were the Jews the only group identified for total destruction because of racial reasons.

  • 4
    It is polite to say please when asking a question, rather than just command an answer. In any case, this appears to be a homework question which you've made no attempt to answer yourself.
    – BillJ
    Dec 3, 2016 at 15:52
  • I wanted to do so, but I thought it's restricted. thanks for tip
    – Jane
    Dec 3, 2016 at 15:58
  • @AlexeyKutsenko you may edit the question if you wish to make it sound more polite. I understand the rules here can be a little labyrinthine.
    – Andrew
    Dec 3, 2016 at 17:24
  • Similar: ell.stackexchange.com/questions/80064/…. (E.g., "Only by chance did I find out what happened.") Yours is "SENTENCE. Neither were ..." Dec 3, 2016 at 17:30
  • @BillJ: It's politer still to avoid direct commands and fluffy politenesses alike and simply ask the question. Dec 3, 2016 at 18:03

1 Answer 1


This feels more like a sentence fragment than a complete sentence, since the "neither" explicitly refers back to both previous context and subsequent context to explain the contrast. "Neither" is usually paired with "nor", when listing two (or more) objects, but it's not required. For example:

She likes both red and green, but neither is her favorite color.

Here neither requires previous context to explain. It wouldn't be logical to just say "neither is her favorite color" without saying what her other, non-favorite colors are.

In this same way your example:

"Neither were the Jews ..."

requires previous context to explain what happened with the Jews. It also creates the expectation that the author will explain what other groups were targeted, otherwise the sentence would "leave you hanging".

Another example:

I took some time to consider whether to study English or History in college. Neither sounded like they would be much fun. So I chose to study Philosophy instead.

To be complete, the sentence in the middle, "Neither sounded like ... " relies on the previous information and (to some extent) the subsequent information. Otherwise it feels like a fragment out of context.

I can of course combine these into one long sentence:

I took some time to consider whether to study English or History in college, but since neither sounded like they would be much fun, I chose to study Philosophy instead.

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