John is not able to express his needs appropriately nor to initiate communication.

Is the grammar correct ?

My question is are the negative words used correctly. So is it possible to use two of them in the sentence? Is my use of the two negative words correct here, or does it cause a problem. If there is a problem, what can I do to correct it? Why would this solve the problem?

  • Can you edit this question to make it more suitable for this site, i.e, related to English language learning? Add some context perhaps?
    – Mamta D
    Oct 20, 2015 at 6:22
  • Hi user25559. Welcome to ELL. It's always a good idea to give lost of details in your question. It's important to show why you think there might be a problem with the grammar, for example, because otherwise people don't know what help you need! :-) Very nice question subject though +1 Oct 20, 2015 at 13:22
  • Would 'neither . . . .nor' be better?
    – peterG
    Oct 21, 2015 at 0:58
  • @Araucaria: You mind putting this on meta.ell.stackexchange.com/q/2530/10820, given your labor in making the question answerable? Oct 25, 2015 at 20:57

1 Answer 1


Let's take your questions one by one:

Is it possible to use two negative words in the sentence?

Absolutely. For such a sentence to make sense the negatives are commonly of different types (I'm not negative, nor am I wrong), since when they aren't (I'm not not talking to the police officer...) the general feel is that the speaker is trying to be intentionally misleading (I didn't do nothing!) or obtuse (Was it interesting? Well, it wasn't uninteresting...).

Is my use of the two negative words correct here?

It is indeed. The negative conjunction nor ties the dependent clause into the rest of the sentence grammatically. I might suggest putting a comma after appropriately (commonly referred to as the Oxford comma), but the sentence is still correct without it.

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