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My question is: are the following sentences acceptable in English?

"I have never had a car, nor a bicycle either"

"I have never had a car, or a bicycle either"

I am not asking what the best structure is (probably "I have never had a car, nor a bicycle" or "I have never had a car, or a bicycle"): just if the two structures above are acceptable. My understanding is that the structure "... nor X either" would add strength to the sentence (at least in a conversation if not on a written document).

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Both of them sound okay to me. :)

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For your first example:

  • 1.) "I have never had a car, nor a bicycle either."

Grammatically, that seems fine. In the 2002 reference grammar by Huddleston and Pullum et al., The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language (CGEL), page 1309, there's a section on "Nor as coordinator", and below is a relevant excerpt from it (note the three examples in [50.ii]) :

Nor as coordinator

Nor appears as a coordinator paired correlatively with neither ([50.i]), or non-correlatively as a variant of or in negative contexts ([50.ii]):

[50]

  • i.a. [Neither Jill nor her husband] could help us.
  • i.b. A good conversationalist talks [neither too much nor too little].
      -
  • ii.a. The change won't be [as abrupt as in 1958 nor as severe as in 1959].
  • ii.b. No state shall have a share [less than 50% nor more than 70%].
  • ii.c. Serious art is not [for the lazy, nor for the untrained].

In [ii] nor could be replaced by (or, which is much more common: the version with nor perhaps gives added emphasis to the negation. . . . The difference is that in [i] all the coordinates are marked as negative, whereas in the non-correlative [ii] the first coordinate (as abrupt as in 1958, etc.) is not marked as negative within the coordination itself, but falls within the scope of a preceding negative.

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For your second example:

  • 2.) "I have never had a car, or a bicycle either."

Grammatically, that seems fine. Your "either" seems to be functioning as a connective adjunct. Here are some examples that might be somewhat similar in some ways:

  • She wasn't impressed, (and) I wasn't either. -- (CGEL, page 1308)

  • Kim didn't go and Pat didn't, either. -- (CGEL, page 1305, fn 25)

  • Kim didn't like it either. -- (CGEL, page 570)

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So, it seems to me that both examples are fine.

  • So apparently I could say "She wasn't impressed, nor I was either"? – randomatlabuser Dec 12 '13 at 8:24
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    @randomatlabuser: "she wasn't impressed and neither was I" would be much more idiomatic – No'am Newman Dec 12 '13 at 8:35
  • @No'am Newman: I agree that it would be more idiomatic, more common. But I am trying to understand if the structure "nor X either" is acceptable, perhaps producing a different emphasis, a different sound and being pronounced with a different cadence: "neither was I" sounds quick and the accent falls on "I" at the end, while "nor I was either" sounds slower, almost pedantic, and the accent falls on "I" at the second syllable (it also seems more amusing). – randomatlabuser Dec 12 '13 at 8:59
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    @randomatlabuser: The suggestion by No'am Newman sounds good. You could also perhaps try "She wasn't impressed, nor was I (either?)." The "either" in this last example probably isn't fully acceptable, or it might be acceptable in some dialects, or it might be colloquial usage, but I'm not sure on this; but the version without "either" seems to be fine, imo. Notice that in both my version and in No'am Newman's version the occurrence of obligatory subject-auxilary inversion in the 2nd coordinate ("and neither was I"; "nor was I"). – F.E. Dec 12 '13 at 9:08
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"Nor" is a contraction of Middle English "nauther", becoming "neither" in modern English. "Nor" is often paired with "neither". Since "never" (in the first sentence) carries the sense of negation, in a similar way that "neither" does, I believe the first sentence is acceptable, while the second might be a little unwelcoming in written usage.

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Neither and nor always go together. You can’t use nor in a sentence without neither.

Either and nor never go together. If you use either you have to use or.

Either can be used at the end of a sentence without or—“He didn’t do his homework either.”

"I have never had a car, nor a bicycle either" is incorrect because you’re pairing nor with either.

In the second sentence, drop the comma before or, and drop the either.

“I have never had a car or a bicycle” says it all.

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