If I'm a seller and someone asks me: "Are there rice and beans in your store?" and then I could answer in one of the following options:

a) There are no neither.

b) There are neither.

c) There are neither, rice or beans.

d) There are no neither, rice or beans.

What is correct English among the above options?

(there are two points in my question: 1. if I have to add the word "no" after neither. 2. If I have to complete the sentece after "neither", or it's enough to say neither).

  • As an aside, "answer me" means "give to me an answer to a question that I asked." Since the question was asked to you by someone else, you may say I could answer him or I could answer her. – David K Dec 24 '16 at 15:17
  • 2
    You could also say, "I'm sorry, but we have neither at this time." – Mark Hubbard Dec 24 '16 at 15:17
  • @DavidK K. it's absolutely typo:) Thank you for the attention. – Judicious Allure Dec 24 '16 at 15:23
  • Honestly, though, I think 'we have neither', or - even more likely - 'I'm sorry, but we don't have either [of those/them]' would be more idiomatic – Au101 Dec 24 '16 at 22:37

In Standard English, a double negative (when it is permitted) is a "positive": the two negative meanings cancel each other out. The word neither has a negative meaning, and since you mean to convey a negative meaning you should not combine the word neither with another "negative" word such as no.

It is also conventional to use the connector nor rather than or when listing the items to which the word neither applies. Hence you could say you have neither rice nor beans. Notice that there is no comma between the word neither and the list of things whose existence it denies.

Hence we see that option a) has an error, option c) has two errors, and option d) has three.

That leaves only option b). It is permitted to omit the list of items after the word neither in cases where it will be understood what things were meant. Since you were asked if you had rice or beans in your store, it is correct to say that you have neither. You can also say, "There are neither," where it is understood that it is rice and beans that do not exist and that your store is the place where they do not exist.

  • IMO it sounds best with a no at the beginning: "No, there are neither [rice nor beans]." – Kat Dec 24 '16 at 17:25
  • @Kat That's a good point. "No," by itself, is an answer, and the rest of the sentence gives the answer again in greater detail. That is fine; it provides emphasis to the statement. Using "no" in this way does not constitute a double negative. – David K Dec 24 '16 at 18:09

There are neither rice nor beans.

That is the only sentence which makes sense and should be correct.

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