0

Which of the following sentences is most grammatical for US English, or are all of them ungrammatical and should be written differently?

I will not allow anyone to do something to him or her.

I will allow no one to do something to him or her.

I will allow anyone to do something to neither him nor her.

The intent is to state that the speaker is going to prevent anyone and everyone from taking an action as regards to "him" and "her".

  • They're all awkward, at least, for irrelevant reasons, as usual. Why use both anyone and something? It sounds like a contradiction. Why use him or her instead of them? And negation is not just a matter of sticking a negative word in here or there; there are scopes, constructions, and polarity to consider. – John Lawler Jan 23 at 16:24
  • 2
    (1) and (2) would be just about acceptable if you replace something with anything. – Kate Bunting Jan 23 at 16:27
  • @KateBunting Which of 1 and 2 is more grammatical and fitting to the intent? And yes, "do something" is just for asking on ESE. In the actual text it will be along the lines of "screw", "smite", "smash", "paint", "drive" or whatever. The specific action is irrelevant. – NoNotNeitherNor Jan 23 at 18:51
  • So, you seem to be using “to do something“ and “him or her” as placeholders and you are only interested in the structure around these. (This wasn’t obvious at all until you explained it to us.) If I fill in the placeholders I can make much better sense of the different sentences: I get: 1. “I will not allow anyone to hurt Lenny.” 2. “I will allow no one to hurt Lenny.” and both are grammatical and possible in ordinary usage. I’d expect to come across 1. much more often (especially with “won’t”). I still can’t derive any sensible meaning from 3. – Orbital Aussie Jan 24 at 4:45
  • Perhaps with 3. (your third sentence) you are trying to use something like: “I will allow anyone to hurt not Lenny.”? If so it is certainly grammatically incorrect to try to negate the sentence in this position. – Orbital Aussie Jan 24 at 4:52

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy