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Consider the following sentence:

I haven't heard from either you, (n)or her.

If I started my sentence with "I have heard from neither you" then the "nor" would follow. My doubts stem from the fact that I'm using negation (which suggests "nor") but I'm also using "not" ("have not") and "either" in the first part of the sentence which suggests "or" in the second part.

So which one is it?

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    No need to duplicate the negation in the prepositional phrase: I haven't heard from either you or her. Or "I've heard from neither you nor her."
    – TimR
    Feb 19 at 15:26
  • @TimR Sounds like an answer. Why don't you make it an official answer so I can accept it? ;)
    – NPS
    Feb 19 at 15:44
  • There's an existing question on whether "not either" is valid which concludes the same thing.
    – Stuart F
    Feb 19 at 16:04
  • @NPS Because I expected the question to be closed as a duplicate.
    – TimR
    Feb 19 at 16:19
  • @StuartF: I see nothing about either + nor on your link, but it has been asked about here before ELL was created, so I'm citing that as a dup, rather than voting to migrate. Feb 19 at 19:43

1 Answer 1

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The writer at Medium explains:

Either is always paired with or, and neither is always paired with nor.

Neither† indicates that the two ideas are linked together. It’s kind of like a negative conjunction. If you use neither, then make sure your sentence does not have any other negatives preceding it. If you prefer to use a negative, then you want to use either.

  • Jay had seen neither the snake nor the wasp’s nest on the [tree] ...

  • Jay had not seen either the snake or the wasp’s nest on the [tree] ....

Either also links the two noun phrases / their referents. So correct are

  • Jay had not seen [either the snake or the wasp’s nest] on the tree. and

  • I haven't heard from [either you or her].

(braces to show cohesion within the either/or construction).

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