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Which one is right:

It is neither known what Jack actually said to Lilly that evening, nor it is known how they broke up.

It is neither known what Jack actually said to Lilly that evening, nor is it known how they broke up.

Why?

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    Bear aware that people don't "talk" like that. It sounds forced. That said, more natural would be: It is not known what J actually said to L that evening nor is it known how they broke up. – Lambie Mar 23 '18 at 17:42
  • @Lambie Ok; feel free to improve. – user72629 Mar 23 '18 at 17:42
  • Your inversion was good. Bravo. – Lambie Mar 23 '18 at 17:44
  • @Lambie Are you suggesting "nor" without "neither"? – user72629 Mar 23 '18 at 18:06
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Neither examnple is correct.

"Neither" applies mostly closely to what comes directly after it--in this case, "known". Whatever comes before "neither" shouldn't be repeated--it applies to both cases that follow.

Starting a sentence with "It is neither known" implies that "known" is one alternative and that the second alternative will demonstrate a contrast to known. For example, "It is neither known what Jack actually said to Lilly, nor expected that he was nasty to her."

In your examples, both alternatives are governed by "known", so that isn't what's being "neithered" (I made up that word, don't use it). The alternatives are "what Jack actually said to Lilly" and "how they broke up". So the sentence should be "It is known neither what Jack actually said to Lilly, nor how they broke up."

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  • Thanks! What do you think of "It is not known what Jack actually said to Lilly that evening, nor is it known how they broke up."? – user72629 Mar 23 '18 at 18:09
  • I think it's perfect. – Green Grasso Holm Mar 23 '18 at 18:12
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It is not known what Jack actually said to Lilly that evening, nor is it known how they broke up.

is correct, if somewhat wordy and stiff.

It is neither known what Jack actually said to Lilly that evening, nor known how they broke up.

is technically correct, but nobody would say it.

Somewhat more natural would be

Neither what Jack actually said to Lilly that evening nor how they broke up is known.

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a natural sounding sentence:

It is not known what J actually said to L that evening nor is it known how they broke up.

OR, if one insists on the neither/nor pair:

Neither is what J actually said to L to that evening known, nor is how they broke up [known, optional].

Please note: "it's not known neither etc." doesn't work.

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