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I have a sentence

I will call neither you nor him

I guess it means

I won't call neither you nor him

Out of it it's not clear whether I will call anyone at all but I want to say that I will call but among the people I will call there will be neither you nor him. Can I say it like

I will call somebody else, NOT neither you nor him

or should it be like

I will call somebody else, neither you nor him

I am worried NOT neither you nor him = 2 negations which is a bad grammar.

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    I won't call neither you nor him is also a double negative; you would use either, or in this case. – Kate Bunting Jun 18 at 7:56
  • What about "I will call, but neither you nor him"? – Michael Azarenko Jun 18 at 13:10
  • I suppose that works in theory, but I can't imagine anyone wording it like that in real life. – Kate Bunting Jun 18 at 13:17
  • How would you rephrase it? Why is it bad? – Michael Azarenko Jun 18 at 13:18
  • It's not 'bad', just unnatural. "I'm going to call somebody, but it won't be you and it won't be him!" – Kate Bunting Jun 18 at 13:33
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I will call somebody else, neither you nor him

is better; as you said, it avoids a double negative. Though it's worth noting, this isn't actually against the rules of grammar, it's just a style rule. (See here)

Personally, I'd put the "somebody else" after the negation to give it more emphasis:

I will call neither you nor him--somebody else.

I will call neither you nor him. I'll call somebody else.

I will call neither you nor him, but somebody else.

It's totally up to you though. Use whatever sounds better.

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  • And while a double negative isn't wrong, using it means that the second sentence in the question does not mean the same thing as the first—it means the opposite. So, despite the discussion about style, the premise of the question itself is wrong. – Jason Bassford Jun 18 at 8:03
  • I wanted to say that people said/wrote I will call neither you nor him but in their heads they mean I won't call neither you nor him. Like, people don't normally say so but they mean it. No? – Michael Azarenko Jun 18 at 13:17
  • I will call neither...nor = I won't call either...or – Kate Bunting Jun 18 at 16:50

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