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I tought we should use neither/nor with a singular verb when both of the subjects are singular:

Neither he nor she is happy.

Quote from the OED:

d. With two sing. subjects and pl. verb.
1759 Johnson Idler No. 44 _3 Neither search nor labour are necessary.
1777 Cowper Wks. (1837) XV. 37 Neither the Duke of Bedford nor Lord Sussex have cut yet.

e. neither..or. - special expression? (the text is in blue)

1786 A. M. Bennett Juvenile Indiscr. I. 70 Engaging to spare neither trouble or expence.
1830 W. Taylor Hist. Surv. Germ. Poetry III. 26 These modern antiques neither supply the interest of classical or of German poetry.
1874 G. W. Dasent Tales fr. Fjeld 204 Wasn’t it true that he neither knew anything or could do anything?

Thanks.
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The OED (Oxford English Dictionary) cites examples of English usage from as far back as there are texts to draw from. The examples we're looking at are not current. Take a look at the dates listed: 1759, 1777, 1786, 1830, 1874.

What you taught your students is correct.

EX: Neither he nor she is happy. (Singular Subjects + Singular Verb)
EX: Neither the Smiths nor the Thompsons are happy. (Plural Subjects + Plural Verb)

Cheers
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GuestWhat about "Neither he nor I ...... going? Should the verb be "am" or "are"?
Hi Guest

In Helsinki English I wouldn't use are, but I do know there are usage experts who disagree with me. There willprobably never be agreement on this.

Cheers
CB
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Comments  
What about "Neither he nor I ...... going? Should the verb be "am" or "are"?
How about :

"Neither he nor she drinks" or "Neither he nor she drink"

???
MarcoI tought we should use neither/nor with a singular verb when both of the subjects are singular:

Neither he nor she is happy.

Quote from the OED:

d. With two sing. subjects and pl. verb.
1759 Johnson Idler No. 44 _3 Neither search nor labour are necessary.
1777 Cowper Wks. (1837) XV. 37 Neither the Duke of Bedford nor Lord Sussex have cut yet.

e. neither..or. - special expression? (the text is in blue)

1786 A. M. Bennett Juvenile Indiscr. I. 70 Engaging to spare neither trouble or expence.
1830 W. Taylor Hist. Surv. Germ. Poetry III. 26 These modern antiques neither supply the interest of classical or of German poetry.
1874 G. W. Dasent Tales fr. Fjeld 204 Wasn’t it true that he neither knew anything or could do anything?

Thanks.
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How about :

"Neither he nor she drinks" or "Neither he nor she drink"

???
MarcoI tought we should use neither/nor with a singular verb when both of the subjects are singular:

Neither he nor she is happy.

Quote from the OED:

d. With two sing. subjects and pl. verb.
1759 Johnson Idler No. 44 _3 Neither search nor labour are necessary.
1777 Cowper Wks. (1837) XV. 37 Neither the Duke of Bedford nor Lord Sussex have cut yet.

e. neither..or. - special expression? (the text is in blue)

1786 A. M. Bennett Juvenile Indiscr. I. 70 Engaging to spare neither trouble or expence.
1830 W. Taylor Hist. Surv. Germ. Poetry III. 26 These modern antiques neither supply the interest of classical or of German poetry.
1874 G. W. Dasent Tales fr. Fjeld 204 Wasn’t it true that he neither knew anything or could do anything?

Thanks.
 Cool Breeze's reply was promoted to an answer.