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I ask about 'neither' as a determiner. I want to dredge below the last 5 paras under 'Tip 2' , which don't explain. Neither does p 90, A Student's Introduction to English Grammar (2005).

Consider: 2. Neither of the parties ?IS? concerned.
= 3. Both two or more parties are NOT concerned
Does the plurality of the verb in 3, prove that 'neither' should be plural? Why or why not?

I edited the nouns in the original below to simplify.

You need to be careful, because there are two separate situations.
[I omit the second situation here, which I ask NOT about.]

(1) "Neither" withOUT "nor", as in "Neither of the ... parties is concerned with Egypt."

If it is "neither" only, then it is singular and takes a singular verb even though the plural verb might sound better to us.

  • If, in example 2, [Y] is plural, then the verb is plural. If [Y] is singular, then the following verb is singular. That's all there is to it. – Adam Jan 8 '15 at 23:06
  • The premise is false. You can find both singular and plural verbs with neither in actual use. – snailboat May 8 '15 at 2:42
  • @snailboat But 'singular agreement is usual' (cp p 90 as above)? – Greek - Area 51 Proposal May 8 '15 at 2:45
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    @LawArea51Proposal-Commit You might find this graph interesting: goo.gl/izCNZf – snailboat May 8 '15 at 2:46
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You aren't talking about the parties together as a unified group, but how they feel individually. You generally are always doing this when you use neither.

This may help you understand:

Neither [one] of the parties is concerned with Egypt

Usually the one is understood and left out of the construct.


I'm not sure if the below is correct, but here goes:

Let's say you had a total of four parties, and for some reason, they were afflilated in two groups, i.e. party A and B, and party C and D. Then you could say:

Neither two of the parties are concerned with Egypt.

You can see how this is confusing unless there's a strong context to help, so I would really avoid using neither in this situation, even if it is correct.

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    I'm not sure if that second usage is correct either, but it looks wrong. I would say "Neither pair of parties is concerned with Egypt". I don't think you can say neither there, because there are more than two 'two's in a set of four. There are 6 of them. It makes more sense to give the specific groupings of two a name, like the generic 'pair'. – DCShannon May 8 '15 at 2:53
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    Might be worth noting that if you replace 'neither' with 'none', you do use the plural form. – DCShannon May 8 '15 at 2:55

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