1. I neither meant to hurt Mary nor John.
  2. I neither meant to hurt Mary nor meant to hurt John.
  3. I meant to hurt neither Mary nor John.

I'm confused with these sentences. I'd like to know if they mean the same thing, or not.

  • yes, they mean the same.
    – Varun Nair
    Jan 16, 2016 at 5:31
  • Why do you think there's a chance they wouldn't mean the same? Jan 16, 2016 at 5:44
  • The sentences # 1 and 2 seem incorrect, whereas #3 is correct grammatically.
    – Khan
    Jan 16, 2016 at 7:52
  • Similar to/could be duplicate of this question: ell.stackexchange.com/questions/52500/…
    – cst1992
    Jan 16, 2016 at 9:07

1 Answer 1


When we use neither and nor we need to place those words before the two items you are linking. In the first sentence 'neither' is placed before the verb' hurt' so then the Steiner/reader will expect another verb. E.g. I neither meant to hurt nor betray M and J. The same goes for the second sentence ... e.g. neither meant nor planned to. In fact of the three it is the least effective in communicating the idea i.m.o The third one is the most effective version, and of course is grammatically correct. However, a listener would probably understand any one of these.

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