I'm writing a song and I worry about whether it sounds weird.

"I would neither ever leave nor even ever say goodbye."

This is what I wrote. I wonder how it sounds to native speakers.

  • Is this is a request for an opinion about how song lyrics sound? I don't think this is the forum for that. If you're asking how to say it correctly, we can help. If you're asking how to say it euphoniously in a song, we cannot help. It does sound weird.
    – EllieK
    Commented Dec 2, 2020 at 21:28

1 Answer 1


Before saying anything else, song lyrics don't adhere to normal rules of grammar. What could be considered awkward or wrong in normal speech or writing is often quite acceptable in songs.

The plain version of the sentence is normal:

✔ I would neither leave nor say goodbye.

It seems to be talking about a single incident.

If we add in a qualifier to both parts of the sentence, it's still grammatical, but it becomes unusual:

? I would neither ever leave nor ever say goodbye.

Rather than talking about a single incident, it's now describing a permanent state of affairs.

I would say the more normal phrasing for this would drop the neither-nor construction:

I would never leave or say goodbye.

Your version simply adds even after the second ever:

? I would neither ever leave nor ever even say goodbye.

I would rephrase this along the earlier lines:

I would never leave or even say goodbye.

I don't think there is anything outright ungrammatical with your version—but I do think it's unusual and, perhaps, confusing. (In particular, it's not common to use a neither-nor construction for such a sentence.) However, it is part of a song. Depending on rhyme, metre, and context, it could be perfectly acceptable.

But in terms of metre, you could use never ever-or instead of neither ever-nor, and end up with the same sound, while still having it read more idiomatically.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .