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 they mean the same or not.

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

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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