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I have constructed below two sentences using "neither", "either" -

  1. An item which is not present in both menu-source and menu-editor is

neither edited nor added.

  1. Why either key-up or key-down is not used in both cases?

Are these above two sentences are correct?

  • Only one sentence contains 'either'. – Michael Harvey Nov 28 '19 at 20:02
  • Hi Andrew. They're not correct, I'm afraid. Question 1 has too many negatives and question 2 needs a verb after 'Why'. They could be re-written like this: 1. An/any Item absent from both the menu-source and the menu-editor has been/can be/ should be/ neither edited nor added. OR If an item is absent from both the menu-source and the menu-editor it has been/can be/ should be/ neither edited nor added. // 2. Why aren't the up-key and down-key used in such/these cases? OR: Why is neither the up-key nor the down-key used in such/these cases? – Old Brixtonian Nov 28 '19 at 20:33
  • @OldBrixtonian thanks for your reply, u can post it answer so I can vote it. Now, I am sure, u will comply that "absent from" can be replaced by "which is not present in" unless there is a grammatical issue. Also "has been" is what appropriate here but I wonder why "is" is not correct? I mean I just stated what happened in present form, must I use passive voice? Please correct me. – Andrew Nov 29 '19 at 7:53
  • @OldBrixtonian About second sentence, I agree that your suggested sentences are correct, but I have seen examples where sentences are made questions just using question mark at the end without changing the position of verb like in conventional structure of interrogative sentences, could shed some light on that? – Andrew Nov 29 '19 at 7:53
  • @Andrew Why don't "u" like 'absent from'? No, I won't comply! (The word "u" need here is 'agree'.) If "u" say 'is not present' (which includes the negative 'not') "u" need to continue 'in either', not 'in both'. And just after this 'either' "u" would have the word 'neither' (in 'neither edited nor added.') Your sentence would be much longer than necessary, hard to understand and a bit ridiculous. – Old Brixtonian Nov 30 '19 at 2:35
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Well they're a bit confusing. I think that the question I'm seeing right now is grammatical, but it does not seem very clear or graceful.

Each is ambiguous, more because of your use of negations with “both” than because of “either” or “neither.” Your words “not present in both” might mean “present in only one” or “present in neither,” or it might regard those two as being practically the same. And similarly your words “not used in both” might mean “used in only one” or “used in neither,” or again, they might mean to make no such distinction.

Personally I also find it unclear. The hyphenated words are a jargon whose grammar and meaning I cannot guess.

Would something among these choices capture your meaning?

  1. Any item which is absent from both menu-source and menu-editor is neither edited nor added.
  2. Any item which is absent from either menu-source or menu-editor is neither edited nor added.
  3. Why were key-up and key-down disused in both cases?
  4. Why were key-up and key-down disused in either case?
  5. Why was either key-up or key-down disused in both cases?
  6. Why was either key-up or key-down disused in either case?
| improve this answer | |
  • Thanks for your answer, I have up-voted your answer. Note that it is not about what captures the meaning, certainly what you wrote I correct but what I wanted to know that is my way of expression is correct, at least grammatically? It might be confusing and unclear due to lack of context, could you reconsider and add something to your post regarding correctness of those two sentences based on grammar. Also please write separate sentences instead of using parentheses for two possible options, thanks – Andrew Nov 29 '19 at 7:58
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They're not correct, I'm afraid. Sentence 1 has too many negatives and sentence 2 needs a verb after 'Why'. They could be rewritten as:

Sentence 1

An/any item absent from both the menu-source and the menu-editor
has been [or can be or should be] neither edited nor added.  

or

If an item is absent from both the menu-source and the menu-editor 
it has been [or can be or should be] neither edited nor added. 

Sentence 2

Why aren't the up-key and down-key used in such/these cases?

or

Why is neither the up-key nor the down-key used in such/these cases?
| improve this answer | |
  • I'm sort of sorry I waded into this. I would delete my answer if the rules permitted it. – Chaim Dec 3 '19 at 17:47
  • @Chaim :-) Me too! Have an up-vote. – Old Brixtonian Dec 3 '19 at 19:16

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