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Are the following all correct and semantically equivalent? And even if they are, which ones are preferred and why?

  • There was not enough commitment on my part or John's.
  • There was not enough commitment on my part nor John's.
  • There was not enough commitment on my or John's part.
  • There was not enough commitment on mine or John's part.
  • There was not enough commitment on mine nor John's part.
  • I will repeat my previous comment: "The question ... lacks a context. I don't prefer any of them, for what little that's worth, but not having a context prevents anyone from stating a meaningful preference: sentences like this usually don't exist in isolation. Passives are usually clumsy & verbose. Both Neither John nor I was committed enough & John & I weren't committed enough seem better to me. Every sentence in a discourse is like a piece of a jigsaw puzzle: either it fits or it doesn't. Show us at least part of the puzzle. Then ask" a real question. – user264 Apr 20 '13 at 15:42
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    @Bill Franke: Go on, I'll bite. Suggest me two possible contexts such that you would prefer different alternatives from the above in each. I certainly can't think of any additional context that could affect how bad all of them sound to me, or make me "rank" them differently. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Apr 20 '13 at 20:10
  • @Fumble: I fully agree with your "They're all clumsy phrasings...those last 5 words are just too 'busy'" & wouldn't use them unless the paragraph contained a list of reasons the project failed, but I'd have to change the syntax: "Why did the project fail? Three reasons. There wasn't enough money from A or B. There wasn't enough support from C or D. There wasn't enough commitment from E or F." Maybe those "or"s should be "and"s. – user264 Apr 21 '13 at 0:06
  • @Bill: Well, we can assume from OP's nor versions that he actually means and. But I'm happy to call it inclusive 'or', even though strictly speaking or admits of the possibility that either John or myself (but not both) was committed enough. But you could say the same about and, in this particular construction. All I know is there wasn't enough commitment, from me and/or John. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Apr 21 '13 at 2:27
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They're all clumsy phrasings, but for what it's worth I'd grade them (from most to least acceptable) as...

There was not enough commitment on my part or John's.
There was not enough commitment on mine or John's part.
There was not enough commitment on my or John's part.
There was not enough commitment on my part nor John's.
There was not enough commitment on mine nor John's part.

We can throw out the mine versions on grammatical/idiomatic grounds by noting that Google Books has 292 instances of "on your or our part", but only 3 of "on yours or our part" (my/mine = your/yours). And the nor versions are at least "unusual", in that nor usually follows neither, rather than not.


But however you arrange them, those last 5 words are just too "busy", trying to combine an inclusive "or" and two possessives (one a pronoun) associated with the same "part". It would be far better to avoid "problematic" constructions like this completely, and rephase as, say,...

There was not enough commitment from either myself or John.


For reasons I can't easily put my finger on, I personally would identify John first, and myself second. Perhaps because the last-named person "stands out" more, and it's "bad form" to put more of the blame on someone else in such contexts. Or maybe just because I'm influenced by the fact that The Queen often says My husband and I...

There was not enough commitment from either John or myself.

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Due to the "not" at the beginning, you must use "nor" at the end; so that knocks out 3 of them.

The last one is not correct, as "mine" does not go with "part" (if John was not involved, you would not say "There was not enough commitment on mine part.").

So of the 5, "There was not enough commitment on my part nor John's." is correct.

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