4

Which one is correct?

  1. Neither my friend nor I feel my best in the morning.
  2. Neither my friend nor I feel her best in the morning.
  3. Neither my friend nor I feel our best in the morning.

I already know that the verb agrees with the subject closer to the verb:

  1. Neither my friends nor my brother understands me. (correct)
  2. Neither my friends nor my brother understand me. (wrong)

AND

  1. Neither my brother nor my friends understand me. (correct)
  2. Neither my brother nor my friends understands me. (wrong)
  • Hello, 137. A good question. (1) sounds ridiculous, and (2) worse. I'd have to go with (3) if I wasn't allowed to rewrite. And then look (or rather listen) what happens with 'Neither Jack nor Jill feel/s his/her/their best in the morning'. Here, I'd doubtless 'break the rule' you mention and go with 'Neither Jack nor Jill feel their best in the morning' in speech. And avoid it in formal writing. // I'd be impressed with (and upvote) any answer giving supporting references to a ruling. And, as usual, object strongly to answer s merely giving opinion. – Edwin Ashworth Jul 2 at 11:20
  • 2
    While 3. seems the most idiomatic, why are you assuming that there is a definite answer in this case—that one of them must be correct? What if none of them are correct? Perhaps it's simpler to just rephrase the sentence in order to avoid the dilemma. – Jason Bassford Jul 2 at 15:22
  • It's always tricky to force agreement when they fundamentally disagree. – Lawrence Jul 3 at 13:57
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(3) is correct.

"Neither my friend nor I" means "Not my friend and not I". The implied use of "and" means that the subject is plural, and thus a plural pronoun should be used.

By the same token, the "closer to the verb" guideline is incorrect.

"Neither my friends nor my brother" is plural either way it's written, so the statement requires the use of the plural verb "understand".

  • This is s not true. You are thinking of some other language than English. In English, nor and or formally take the same concord. Here that would be 1st person singular because that is the nearer disjunctive subject, just as it is in Neither David nor I am planning to attend. – tchrist Aug 4 at 4:12

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