- Neither Mary nor John eat beef.
- Neither Mary nor John eats beef.
Which is grammatically correct?
English Language Learners Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for speakers of other languages learning English. It only takes a minute to sign up.Sign up to join this community
Neither Mary nor John eats beef.
Rule 2. Two singular subjects connected by or, either/or, or neither/nor require a singular verb.
My aunt or my uncle is arriving by train today.
Neither Juan nor Carmen is available.
Either Kiana or Casey is helping today with stage decorations.
Rule 3. The verb in an or, either/or, or neither/nor sentence agrees with the noun or pronoun closest to it.
Neither the plates nor the serving bowl goes on that shelf.
Neither the serving bowl nor the plates go on that shelf.
You can use both of them. It is not wrong to use either of them. However, eats would be a better choice if you have both third party singular nouns or pronoun as in your sentence which means:
Mary doesn't eat beef, and neither does John.
Mary doesn't eat beef and John doesn't eat beef, either.
Neither X nor Y is one of the trickiest grammatical points in English. Traditionally, the subject-verb agreement was based on Y, not X and it depended on whether Y was singular or plural, e.g.:
Neither he nor I am right.
Neither he nor they are coming.
However, if you Google "neither he nor I am", you get 52,600 hits while "neither he nor I are" has 15,800 hits, "neither he nor I is" has 13,500 hits.
Why is this happening? The English language is widely spoken by so many people in the world that the old traditional grammar rules have not been followed by some people and people don't think it is that important to follow them. We sometimes think subject-verb agreement is not that important as long as it makes sense.
Which is grammatically correct between "Neither of them is coming" and "Neither of them are coming"? Both of them are correct. However, the linked Ngram Viewer favors the former and it is better to use the former.