Judd Apatow is singular

Neither the Yahoo! Movies editors nor the writer has any idea what the correct verb is here:

have pushed mov

When a compound subject (like reviews and Judd Apatow) is joined by neither…nor, the verb must agree with the subject closer to it. In this case, it’s Judd Apatow and the verb should be has pushed.

Neither is correct

In this excerpt from Yahoo! Sports, neither or nor are is correct:

neither or are mlb

The correlative conjunction pair is neither…nor, not neither…or. And when neither…nor joins two nouns as the subject of a sentence, the verb (which should be is denying) must agree with the noun closer to it (which is Gordon).

Neither has commented

Neither the Yahoo! Celebrity writer nor editor has commented on this grammatical gaffe:

have commented cel

When two subjects are joined by neither…nor, the verb must agree with the subject closer to it. In this case, the verb must agree with Jungwirth and should be has commented.

Neither writer nor editor saw this

Did anyone over at yahoo.com notice that there’s a messed-up correlative conjunction:

fp neither or

You should have kept it under wraps

The writer for Yahoo! Style should have kept this sad attempt at a common idiom under wraps:

on the under wraps sty

Neither confirming nor denying that she’s responsible for the incorrect correlative conjunction won’t absolve her of responsibility for the mistakes she makes.

Are is wrong; is is right

When a compound subject is joined by the correlative conjunction neither…nor, the verb always agrees with noun closer to it. Except on the Yahoo! Style, where the rules of grammar are often violated:

neither are sty

Neither the writer nor the editor noticed?

Neither the writer nor the editor (if there was one) noticed this mistake on the Yahoo! front page:

fp neither nor

The correlative conjunction neither…nor is used to join just two items, and never more than two — except on yahoo.com where standard rules of grammar do not apply.

This is either horrible or laughable

Here’s one of the mistakes you’ll find on yahoo.com that makes you want to laugh or cry:

fp either is

It’s so sad to think that there are adults out there, making a living as professional writers, who have not mastered the use of the correlative conjunction either…or.

This is not rocket surgery, people. The conjunction must join parallel elements, which means they must be the same parts of speech. To check if you’ve got parallel elements, read the sentence up to the or (omitting the either).

The defense secretary’s departure is a strategic play by the White House

Then read the sentence from the start of the sentence up to either and tack on the words after the or:

The defense secretary’s departure is he is being used as a scapegoat.

Sounds stupid, no? That’s because the either…or is joining a noun phrase (a strategic play by the White House) and a complete clause (he is being used as a scapegoat). Here’s one way to rewrite that sentence so that the conjunction joins two independent clauses:

Either the defense secretary’s departure is a strategic play by the White House, or he is being used as a scapegoat.

It appears to be wrong

Neither the Yahoo! Style writer nor the editor appears to know basic grammar:

neither appear style

When two subjects are joined by the correlative conjunction neither…nor, the verb must agree with the subject closer to it. So, it should be “neither Richie’s children nor her husband appears” but “neither Richie’s husband nor her children appear.”

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.

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