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In a sentence responding negatively to multiple statements or questions, which of the following ways sounds best and has the least grammatical error?

  1. He didn’t do both.
  2. He didn’t do either.
  3. He didn’t do neither.
  4. He didn’t do none.
  5. He did neither.
  6. He did none.

If there are any grammatical issues with the sentence, please explain why.

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    So he has two things to do? Did he do zero or one of them? "He didn't do both" suggests he might have done one.
    – Stuart F
    Mar 18 at 12:44

1 Answer 1

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OP's He didn’t do neither and He didn’t do none are like I didn't do nuffink!

They're all double negatives, usually seen as evidence of poor education if uttered by native speakers. Sometimes it's competent speakers facetiously imitating "the great unwashed" and other "deplorables", but non-native speakers should probably always avoid such usages.

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  • I'd add that He didn’t do both might need special context to work. "He painted and carpeted." "No. He didn’t do both. Just the painting." Mar 17 at 20:47
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    True, but by that token, all the either and neither sentences need "special context" (i.e. exactly and only two alternatives). Come to that, so does He did none (since unlike the potentially independent utterance He did nothing, it requires context for ...none of what?). Mar 17 at 21:59

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