I'm going to work and my 10-year-old son is staying alone at home until I come back.

So before leaving I say to him:

Do not play video games nor eat ice cream.


Neither play video games nor eat ice cream.

I have always used the second structure but today I heard the first one from someone.

Which one of the two is more natural and grammartical?

Note: I can simply say "no video games and no ice cream".

Thanks in advance.

1 Answer 1


The first example is not correct, it should be "or", rather than "nor". "Do not do A or B or C, " for example, in a list.

The second example, though grammatically correct, is not current conversational usage. There is nothing wrong with it, but it's unlikely to be heard in conversation today. Certainly, it's a classical pattern, as in, "Neither a borrower nor a lender be." It's good enough for the Bard of Avon, but not for the mobi generation.

Your third example would be heard commonly in conversation, but technically it's not a sentence. Where's the verb?

In general, think of "either... or" and "neither... nor" as binary operations. They apply to two things, or groups. For example,

Neither you nor your friends can stay tonight.

Either the Pistons or the Celtics can win.

  • So can I say : "Do not play video games or eat ice cream." with the format: "Do not do A or B or C"?
    – user100323
    Commented Jan 20, 2020 at 2:14
  • 1
    Absolutely! That is correct. Commented Jan 20, 2020 at 3:14

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