Neither of your responses (are, is) satisfactory.

In my opinion, "are" should be used because "responses" is in plural form but as per 'Word Power Made Easy', is is the correct choice.


3 Answers 3


Both are valid. Some people consider the plural verb less correct, so in formal writing it may be better to use the singular.

The fact that "responses" is plural doesn't change the fact that "neither" is formally singular:

Neither of the birthday cards was suitable.

The above example is from Cambridge, which also notes:

Spoken English: In formal styles, we use neither of with a singular verb when it is the subject. However, in informal speaking, people often use plural verbs: Neither of my best friends was around. Neither of them were interested in going to university.

More neutrally, Merriam-Webster comments:

Neither is usually used with a singular verb, as in "Neither one is here." But sometimes, especially when a prepositional phrase with a plural in it comes between neither and the verb, a plural verb is used, as in "Neither of those are going to work."

To sum up, in your sentence, "is" is the traditionally prescribed usage and therefore preferable in formal use, although I wouldn't consider "are" incorrect.

Merriam-Webster's usage note indicates that for some speakers the plural "of responses" does have an influence. But if you are convinced that the plural is the logical answer, you might want to ask yourself whether you have the same intuition about these: "Neither one of the responses is correct"; "Not one of the responses is correct"; "Of the responses, not one is correct".

  • A comprehensive answer. Oct 2, 2021 at 5:34
  • Nice explanation, thanks.
    – Dekhun
    Oct 10, 2021 at 8:52

"Are" is for something more than one.

"Is" is for something that is one.

For something I can't count, I use "Is".


Grammatically, are is definitely correct, for the reason you said. This isn't even a case where casual speech is more flexible with the rules, this is simply a mistake.

Alas, even native speakers make mistakes sometimes. Sometimes these mistakes get published. All I can do is apologize. Sorry!


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