Are the following sentences gramatically correct:

"None of Tom, Dick nor Harry participated in the contest." "None of Tom, nor Dick, nor Harry participated in the contest."

If it were a two-person list, the neither-nor construction would clearly be correct ("Neither Tom nor Harry participated"). It seems to me that nor remains the correct conjunction in a three-person list, but I can't find any supporting references.


1 Answer 1


Neither of those sentences are correct. In fact, I might say:

Neither the first sentence, nor the second one, nor any hypothetical third one, is correct

You use none with a plural noun, which obviates the need for a nor anywhere:

None of the boys participated in the contest

  • 1
    Or maybe "None of the three, neither Tom nor Dick nor Harry, participated."
    – Kit Z. Fox
    Jul 9, 2014 at 14:16
  • Sure, that works. Jul 9, 2014 at 14:18
  • 2
    I should say that neither-nor does not sound right to me if used with more than two options. Like both, they come from the Old English dual number and are not fully plural yet in all dialects.
    – Anonym
    Jul 9, 2014 at 18:13
  • 2
    @Anonym Sounds perfectly fine to me. Notice that the OED supports as one sense for neither the following: “Not any one (of more than two)”. It’s been used that way for centuries now — and still is.
    – tchrist
    Jul 9, 2014 at 19:22
  • @tchrist: Yes, so it has been said here (and so it apparently says in the OED). Still sounds very wrong to me. To me, either and neither only sound correct with a single or.
    – Drew
    Sep 16, 2014 at 20:54

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