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Thread: Neither is, neither are

  1. #1
    practical experience, FTW Kittens Starburst's Avatar
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    Neither is, neither are

    I have a character talking to two people, and he says, 'Quite frankly, neither of you is ready to hear.'

    My grammar checker thinks it should be 'are ready'. It's wrong, right?
    MoPE, political satire set in an alternative Britain -- 87,000/90,000

  2. #2
    Let's see what's on special today.. Bufty's Avatar
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    You just decided to leave a word out - as you are perfectly free to do. And dialogue is priviledged content, so the speaker can say whatever he wishes in whatever manner his character would say it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kittens Starburst View Post
    I have a character talking to two people, and he says, 'Quite frankly, neither [one] of you is ready to hear.'

    My grammar checker thinks it should be 'are ready'. It's wrong, right?
    Everything yields to treatment.

  3. #3
    I fight like a dairy farmer Corussa's Avatar
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    As Bufty says, you're just omitting the word 'one' so I would use 'is' - i.e. 'neither one... is ready'.

    Darn grammar checkers, always trying to tell us humans what is and isn't right.
    'Everything you want is on the other side of fear.' Jack Canfield

  4. #4
    Bring it on, I can take it...
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    "Is" sounds wrong to my ear.

    You are not ready to hear this. Neither of you are ready to hear.

  5. #5
    Every chase begins with... Chase's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MaxWriter View Post
    "Is" sounds wrong to my ear.

    You are not ready to hear this. Neither of you are ready to hear.
    You are not ready to hear this is correct.

    Neither of you are ready to hear may sound correct when the ear regards "you" as the subject when it's really the object of the preposition.

    "Neither" is singular, so "is" is correct.

    However, as plural antecedents referring to singular nouns become more and more popular, the mixing of all plurals and singulars tends to blur the lines between old school correct and what's accepted by publishers and readers.
    http://www.chaseediting.com/ | Member:

  6. #6
    practical experience, FTW Kittens Starburst's Avatar
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    Thank you!

    Evil grammar checker.
    MoPE, political satire set in an alternative Britain -- 87,000/90,000

  7. #7
    Writers gon write. JimHeskett's Avatar
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    but, it's dialogue, so does that particular character need to speak technically correctl?
    "If it sounds like writing, rewrite it" - Elmore Leonard

  8. #8
    resident curmudgeon
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimHeskett View Post
    but, it's dialogue, so does that particular character need to speak technically correctl?
    Usually, no, but a character who uses language like this is almost certainly going to get it right.

    A different character might say, "Ain't neither of you ready to hear", but this language strikes me as to well refined for the character to get it wrong.

    Dialogue must be true to character. Something this means wrong is perfect, but at other times, when the character is one who knows and uses proper grammar, only perfect is perfect.

  9. #9
    Tell it like it Is Susan Littlefield's Avatar
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    Smile

    Quote Originally Posted by Kittens Starburst View Post
    I have a character talking to two people, and he says, 'Quite frankly, neither of you is ready to hear.'

    My grammar checker thinks it should be 'are ready'. It's wrong, right?
    Well, "of you" is the prepositional phrase. Take at the prepositional phrase and it's "neither is/are ready to hear." Finally, neither (one) (of you) is ready to hear.

    Spell check is incorrect.
    Susan

    Please visit my website: http://www.susanlittlefield.blogspot.com/


  10. #10
    Tell it like it Is Susan Littlefield's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimHeskett View Post
    but, it's dialogue, so does that particular character need to speak technically correctl?
    So true.
    Susan

    Please visit my website: http://www.susanlittlefield.blogspot.com/


  11. #11
    practical experience, FTW Summerwriter's Avatar
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    Aw! Susan, I just have to say 'thank you'. English grammar is something I think I never learn to understand. I barely know in which order to write the ordinary words. English grammar sure makes my head spin at times.
    Best: Summerwriter

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  12. #12
    God of the Oceans
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    Grammar checkers are wrong more often than they are right, and it was wrong this time.

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