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Which is the correct use of nor and or in the following sentence?

  • We pursued careers that we sought after and achieved,
    and entered others that we never expected or thought possible.

Is it “or” or is it “nor”. I say "or" is the correct grammar since "neither" is not used in the sentence. Would appreciate your answer.

  • Nor is a contraction of not or and is often used as a correlative conjunction with neither (a contraction of not either). The sentence you ask about is grammatical, and so is ... entered others that we neither expected nor thought possible. – John Lawler Jun 11 '15 at 19:06
  • This is beyond my pay grade, but I think it's because never (like neither) is a negative polarity item, that it's at the very least "correct" (though not required) to use nor as a conjunction in such contexts. – FumbleFingers Jun 11 '15 at 20:46
  • So, the way I originally wrote the sentence is grammatically correct using "or"? – frank briden Jun 12 '15 at 10:02
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We pursued careers that we sought after and achieved, and entered others that we never expected nor thought possible

That is correct, however whilst beautifully put, it is a very formal and literary way of putting it, so unless it is for that specific purpose (to be formal and literary) I would say something a little les constructed and well put, maybe along the lines of:

... that we that we didn't expect or think possible

For spoken English, or fairly informal correspondance

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