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I have come across the following sentence in a paper, and I wonder if it is correct or even just passable English:

Neither is Islam a constant movement over time."

I would use "nor" here but I became unsure if neither was ok or if both should be avoided?

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  • Hello, and welcome to the EL&U. Your question needs more context. How can we guess what was said before? That will determine if "neither" is used correctly or not. See tour, it will help you improve your question.
    – fev
    Commented Aug 3, 2021 at 15:29
  • Thanks for the welcome. The reason I did not provide context is that there is none - I should of course have made that clear! The sentence is the first of a new paragraph - nothing was stated before... The previous paragraph explain opinions of Muslims on various subjects. Commented Aug 3, 2021 at 15:33
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    Does this answer your question? Using "neither" without "and" in a sentence (Drew's answer, showing that the string beginning with 'neither' may follow a comma, semicolon or full stop [ie be a fresh sentence], but must always following a previous negation. Commented Aug 3, 2021 at 15:41
  • Thanks for your clarification. Does the previous paragraph have statements about false beliefs about Islam? These could be construed as being negatives that justify the use of neither at the beginning of the paragraph in question.
    – Shoe
    Commented Aug 3, 2021 at 15:47
  • Certainly, Is 'Neither have I wings to fly.' grammatically correct? is a duplicate (the linked question, about inversion after a negative adverb, is arguably not specific enough). Commented Aug 3, 2021 at 15:48

2 Answers 2

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On the assumption that your sentence follows one with a similarly negative statement about Islam, then starting with neither is fine, as is the alternative starting with nor:

Garner in the entry on neither in Modern American Usage (p564) states:

It is permissible to begin a sentence with neither—just as it is with nor—when embarking on yet another another negative subject.

In the entry on nor (p573) Garner states:

Nor, like neither, may begin a sentence. It must follow either an express negative or an idea that is negative in sense.

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"nor" would be more natural to me, but "neither" is fine, I can understand what they mean to say.

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