When to Use NOR Without Neither?

“Nor” can be used without its general partner “neither” if it is at the beginning of a sentence. It can also be used without neither when creating a list of negative options.

What are “Neither” and “Nor”?

In general, the word “nor” is always paired with the word “neither.” “Neither” and “nor” together are called correlative conjunctions. All forms of conjunctions link two parts of a sentence or phrase together. Correlative conjunctions are specifically used to demonstrate relationships between parts of a sentence of equal importance.

Correlative conjunctions come in pairs, so “either” is used with “or,” “neither” is used with “nor,” “whether” pairs with “or,” and “rather” use “than.”

How to use “Neither” and “Nor”

“Neither” and “nor” are used to compare two options. When using “neither” and “nor” rather than “either” and “or,” you are implying that the two options are both unpreferable. An example of the most common usage of this is:

Neither the pizza nor the pasta was available at the restaurant.

“Neither” Without “Nor”

It is more common to see the word “neither” used without “nor” because “neither” can imply both options. Often, if you are using “nor” without “neither,” there is a more elegant way to form that sentence.

An example of “neither” functioning without “nor” is:

Person 1: Do you like cats or dogs?

Person 2: I like neither.

In this example, Person 2 likes neither cats nor dogs. Since they are not listing cats and dogs, though, they can just use neither to say that do not like both animals.

“Nor” Without “Neither”

“Nor” is generally not used without its partner correlative conjunction “neither.” You may occasionally see it without “neither” when explaining two negative options without comparing them. In this instance, “nor” can and will usually appear at the beginning of the sentence.

For example, you may be saying that you do not like soda. You may want to add that you also do not enjoy the juice. In this case, you can begin the next sentence with the word “nor,” so you can say “I do not like juice. Nor do I like soda.”

You can also combine the thoughts into one sentence, still using “nor.” “I do not like juice, nor do I like soda.”

You may also see “nor” used without “neither” when the author is listing several negative options. For example:

I will not go to the party, nor will I stay home, nor will I go to the bar.