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What is the correct way to say it: "I will not do it nor do that", "I will do neither it nor do that" or some other way?

Edit: I think I did not expressed my doubts well. What I am looking for is whether it is possible to use "neither" or "nor" between two subordinate clauses, such as in "I will not buy groceries neither eat at a restaurant".

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  • Possible duplicate of Usage of "neither... nor" versus "not ... or", though this one is admittedly a bit broader.
    – RegDwigнt
    Jan 27, 2011 at 20:14
  • It should be neither of two actions :)
    – Jimi Oke
    Jan 27, 2011 at 22:28
  • RedDwight, I clarified the question a bit. Do you think it is a possible duplicate yet? I am used to Stack Overflow, it is a bit harder to know how to ask questions about English and I don't know if I am doing something wrong...
    – brandizzi
    Jan 29, 2011 at 15:42
  • 2
    This question appears to be off-topic because it is better on ELL.
    – Kris
    Aug 20, 2013 at 6:05
  • @Kris it's a question dated 2011, ELL wasn't around then :)
    – Mari-Lou A
    Aug 21, 2013 at 4:25

3 Answers 3

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For your example, you'd say

I will neither buy groceries nor eat at a restaurant.

In the general case, the rule-of-thumb is to phrase the sentence as "I will neither X nor Y", where X and Y are phrases containing verbs that could independently form the two sentences "I will not X" and "I will not Y". (In our sentence, X = "buy groceries", Y = "eat at a restaurant").

In case both X and Y begin with the same verb (say buy), you can pull out the verb so that it distributes over the neither-nor construction:

"I will neither buy groceries nor buy shoes." —>
"I will buy neither groceries nor shoes."

"I will neither eat in the park nor eat at a restaurant." —>
"I will eat neither in the park nor at a restaurant."

"I will neither do this nor do that." —>
"I will do neither this nor that."

etc.

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  • In fact, you can move ‘(n)either’ and ‘(n)or’ as far to the right as possible; that is, what comes after these words should be only the words that are different. If you have two parallel prepositional phrases and they use the same preposition, the preposition can be put outside the ‘(n)either/(n)or’ construction: “I work in both a bar and a café” = “I work both in a bar and in a café”. Aug 19, 2013 at 5:18
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How about this: 'I will do neither'?

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    This only works if the options were previously presented. Is it not possible to present both options in just one setence with subordianted clauses?
    – brandizzi
    Jan 29, 2011 at 15:49
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You could always simply say "I won't do either of those".

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