0

Two teachers are having conversation after visiting two different classrooms for lecture. They are saying that no student was there in their class (lecture)(I.e., No student attended their class). The conversation goes like follows:

Teacher 1: No student was there in my class.
Teacher 2: Neither in mine.

Teacher 2 wants to give a short reply. He means no student was there in his class too (like teacher 1). Is it correct to say Neither in mine? Are there any other phrases to describe this? Thank you.

5
  • 1
    This is perfectly acceptable, and grammatically correct too. Mar 3, 2022 at 19:45
  • No, it isn't correct. I'm struggling to put it into words why not, but I'm working on it.
    – Astralbee
    Mar 3, 2022 at 19:46
  • 3
    I find 1's speech unnatural. "No-one turned up for my class today" or, more formally, "No students attended my class". Mar 3, 2022 at 19:57
  • @Kate Bunting Ok. Thanks. And what's natural way to say second one?
    – ramanujan
    Mar 3, 2022 at 20:00
  • 1
    No students attended my class. - Nor mine. or. for the less formal version, [It was the] same with mine. or even Same here. Mar 4, 2022 at 9:07

3 Answers 3

1

The question as it stands is difficult to answer because the two sentences are linked, and the first one is not normal for this situation.

It is common across languages that the second speaker will want to echo some of the structure of the first sentence to help show that the situations are parallel. That means you cannot establish the form of the second sentence without first addressing the form of the first sentence.

Teacher 1: No student was there in my class.

The sentence is perfectly grammatical and understandable, but its pragmatics are not right. Saying it another way, I could say that the wording of this sentence is not suited for the situation described.

By having both "there" and "in my class," Sentence 1 seems to stress that the place is what is most important to convey, when that is not the case. The sentence would be better without "there," but even so would still not quite be right. The normal expectation is that there would be some students, so the negation should also be in the plural, i.e., "No students were in class."

Even more normal, at least for informal AmE, would be to say, "There weren't any students in (my) class (today)"; or better yet, something like "No students showed up in class (today)" or "I didn't have any students show up in class" or "None of the students came to class."

To these sentences, it would be normal to reply informally and respectively:

(1) There weren't any in my class/mine, either. (2) None showed up in my class/mine, either. (3) I didn't have any show up in mine, either. (4) None came to my class, either.

Here is a link to a site that includes such forms of "either."

Technically, you could use "neither" in all these sentences:

(1b) Neither were there any in my class/mine. (2b) Neither did any show up in my class/mine. (3b) Neither did I have any show up in mine. (4b) Neither did any come to my class either.

However, this second batch of sentences all sound affected or slightly archaic and would not be used in informal English, and probably not in formal English, either. You could also replace "neither" with "nor," but this would also sound quite stilted in informal conversation.

2

No.

"Neither" requires two things, and indicates a negative for each.

Teacher 2 is trying to say something like "Additionally there was no student in my class." That is, Teacher 2 is only speaking about Teacher 2's class. So there is only one of two choices required by "neither."

Teacher 2 should use "nor" instead of "neither." Use "nor" when you want to indicate a negative alternative that might fit into a "neither." So the following.

Teacher 1: No student was there in my class.
Teacher 2: Nor in mine.

4
  • Great answer. I was really struggling to explain this, you've cracked it.
    – Astralbee
    Mar 3, 2022 at 19:52
  • But we can use Neither like Neither do I, Neither can he etc. I learnt that from this link: learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/grammar/… . So Neither doesn't require two or multiple things.
    – ramanujan
    Mar 3, 2022 at 19:53
  • @Astralbee and @ dan And sometimes Neither and Nor can be used interchangeably. I read that here in first answer: english.stackexchange.com/questions/56751/…
    – ramanujan
    Mar 3, 2022 at 19:57
  • @ramanujan "Mine neither" would require the original statement to be rephrased with the focus on the class rather than the pupils.
    – Astralbee
    Mar 4, 2022 at 14:04
2

The whole phrasing of this dialogue is quite unnatural, and can lead to some tricky grammatical situations that aren’t fun for anyone. Even if they are grammatically correct, they may be idiomatically unnatural or ambiguous, and that makes them less than ideal. I would rephrase to

Teacher 1: There weren’t any students in my class.

Teacher 2: There weren’t any in mine either.

As @KateBunting has noted above, Teacher 2 may also informally respond with “Same here” or a similar variant.

The confusion over how to use “neither” and “nor” appropriately is widespread, and neither (ha) word is used particularly frequently, especially in some structures. This website might be helpful. In short, “neither in ___” is not a sufficient sentence on its own. “Nor” and “neither” are not 100% interchangeable. In this case, “nor in mine” would be acceptable because we know that “nor” represents a relationship to one other thing that has just been mentioned. But “neither” implies that you’re introducing a new relationship between two new ideas. This site may also help.

You must log in to answer this question.

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