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I have doubts when writing negative sentences that mention two alternatives, I don't know if I have to use “nor” or “or”.

For example:

  1. You mustn't drink soda nor beer. Or
  2. You mustn't drink soda or beer.

I would use “nor” because it's a negative sentence, but I don't know why some apps (like Grammarly) say that it should be “or” instead. It would be amazing that someone here explains me because I investigated, and I don't get it. Thanks in advance.

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    Nor usually follows neither rather than a simple negative; You must drink neither soda nor beer. Jun 13 at 7:20
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    @KateBunting I think perhaps what you mean here is that neither is the only negative which absolutely has to be followed by nor. Other negatives can be, but whether one uses nor or or is optional. e.g. The shop had no potatoes, parsnips, nor/or carrots
    – WS2
    Jun 13 at 7:58

1 Answer 1

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According to the 'rules' of grammar, you could use 'nor' in your example, but Grammarly is likely 'correcting' to the most commonly-used word. Native speakers tend to use 'or' by default and only use 'nor' if the context demands it.

In practice, 'nor' is more often used along with the word 'neither'. Using 'not' to negate a statement does not necessarily demand we use 'nor'.

For example:

-Neither soda nor beer was available at the bar.
-The bar did not have any soda or beer.

In your example sentence, the speaker is talking about two things the other person must NOT do, so it doesn’t matter if you use 'or' or 'nor'. But most native speakers would default to 'or'.

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  • "You mustn't drink soda; nor must you drink beer."
    – Esther
    Jun 14 at 21:53

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