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Usage of neither ... nor is well understood.

I changed the sentence (1) to the sentence (2) to give a focus on the word 'no' in front of 'data'.

(1) Data are neither generated nor transferred.

(2) No data are generated nor transferred.

Is sentence (2) is natural-sounding?

Is it grammatically correct?

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  • 1
    From my BrE perspective, the "orphaned" nor in #2 is nowhere near as unnatural as plural data. But the switch to singular has been quite marked in AmE as well over recent decades. Oct 28 '16 at 12:45
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    (AmE here) It's "neither...nor, either...or, or no...or." Data is neither generated nor transferred/No data is generated or transferred" sounds natural to me (again, AmE). (Oh, and I'm not in IT. But I read a lot of scientific papers which analyze data.) Oct 28 '16 at 12:50
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In a straight answer to your questions, (2) is grammatically fine, but not idiomatic.

The construction no … nor is certainly understandable but not common. On the other hand, (1), neither … nor is a long-standing clause that fits perfectly into your sentence.

Despite this, I'd go with the phrasing "Data are not generated nor transferred" which would convey the meaning just as well, while sounding idiomatic.

In the comments, people have been more concerned with your use of the (correct) plural verb with data. As Google Ngrams analysis of word usage agrees, the plural form is more common with this, a plural noun.

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  • Is (2) grammatically fine? Certainly if or were substituted for nor, it would be grammatical and idiomatic. As it is, it sure feels wrong. Oct 28 '16 at 22:08
  • Perhaps this is a Transatlantic thing: in BrE, you use nor when talking about something you also do not do. Oct 28 '16 at 22:12
  • I disagree with this answer. "Data are not generated nor transferred" is incorrect usage as it is ambiguously parsable. e.g. "Data are not: 1) generated, 2) not transferred", introducing a double negative. You would need "Data are not generated nor are they transferred" in order to disambiguate. Not-nor is fine as long as it has a single parsing. See this great article manhattanprep.com/gmat/blog/… Dec 15 '20 at 13:10

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