Neither writer nor editor knows grammar

If you’re a professional writer, you might be able to get away with poor grammar — if you have the services of a competent editor. But, if you write for the Yahoo! front page, don’t count on it:

fp neither know

Neither the writer nor the editor (assuming there is one) knows that the verb must agree with the noun closer to it when the subject is joined by neither…nor.

Either have or has is correct

Neither the writer nor the editor has addressed this incorrect verb on Yahoo! Music:

neither have music

When a subject consists of two nouns joined by the correlative conjunction neither…nor, the verb must agree with the noun closer to it.

Neither is correct

The word pair neither…nor is a correlative conjunction. They go together like peas and carrots, as Mr. Gump would say. Except on Yahoo! Movies:

neither or movies

and Yahoo! Sports:

neither or sports

No clue, no clue at all

Every once in a while, I read something on Yahoo! that I cannot decipher. I cannot parse the sentence. I cannot glean a scintilla of information. I cannot guess at what the writer was trying to say. And here is today’s WTF writing from Yahoo! News:

neither news

Anyone have a clue as to what this should be? Anyone?

Neither was looking

What happens when neither the writer nor the editor looks for grammatical mistakes? You get a mismatch of subject and verb, like this on Yahoo! Sports:

neither look sports

When the subject is two nouns joined by neither…nor, the verb should agree with the noun closer to it. In this case, it’s singular (Miami) and the verb should be singular, too (looks).

Neither that or this isn’t right

From Yahoo! Sports‘ “Ball Don’t Lie”:

anxiety sports 1

What? You didn’t like that? You were expecting maybe an or following “either the Houston Rockets”? Me, too. But this is Yahoo! and correlative conjunctions like either…or are simply too complex for its writers. So, we forgive.

Yes, we forgive because clearly the correlative conjunctions like neither…nor are a profound and mysterious construction:

anxiety sports 2

If the Einstein had used the word nor instead of or, this would have made some sense — not the sense the writer intended, but some sense. What the writer actually said with that double negative (neither and haven’t) is that both Daryl Morey and Sam Hinkie have commented blah, blah, blah. What he meant: Neither Morey nor Hinkie has commented…

So, there is a lot to be not on the writer’s side here, including this sentence:

anxiety sports 3

Regular readers of Terribly Write will recognize the end of that sentence from a few days ago. Now we know where it came from.

Neither is correct

Neither the editor nor the writer was correct when choosing this verb on Yahoo! Finance:

neither were news

When a compound subject is joined by the correlative conjunction neither…nor, the verb must agree with the noun closer to it. In this case, that noun is Josie and the correct verb is singular, was.

Neither word is correct

OK, I don’t know how a professional writer doesn’t know that the partner of neither is nor, not or. But apparently this guy from Yahoo! Sports‘ “Prep Rally” doesn’t know that:

neither or sports pr

So, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised to see that he also doesn’t know that the verb think should be thinks, since it should agree with mother. (When two nouns are joined by neither… nor to form a subject, the verb must agree with the noun closer to it.)

Neither has anything to do with it

Neither the writer nor the editor for Yahoo! Movies has any idea what the correct verb should be:

have tv

When two subjects of a verb are connected with neither…nor, the verb always agrees with the subject closer to it. In this case, it’s the singular chair, and the verb should be has.

Neither writer nor editor was correct

The writer and the editor, if there is one, for the Yahoo! front page were both wrong when they unleashed this grammatical gaffe on the public:

fp neither were

When two nouns are joined by neither…nor to form a subject, the verb must agree with the noun closer to it. I thought every professional writer (and editor) knew that. I guess I was wrong.

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