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I recently wrote the following sentence in a Scientific journal: The calculations did not take into account the use of the full ordinal Likert scale in the analyses, nor the fact that all patients received all products in a crossover design.

The "nor" in this sentence was corrected to "or" by the editor. However, if the "second part of the negative is a verb phrase - not a verb clause - then you can choose to use "nor" or "or" (according to American Heritage Guide to Contemporary Usage and Style. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2005, p. 320). The question then remains if "take into account" is a verb phrase or a verb clause.

So my question is: Can the use of "nor" in the above sentence be correct, and if not, why not?

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totlandsvI recently wrote the following sentence in a Scientific journal: The calculations did not take into account the use of the full ordinal Likert scale in the analyses, nor the fact that all patients received all products in a crossover design.

On an unrelated point, the part before the comma seems confusing to me. Are the "calculations" and the "analyses" separate things, or are the calculations part of the analyses? And "the use of" means "use of" where? In the analyses or in the patient trials?

Comments  

I would have marked it for a change to "or", but I can see what American Heritage means, and if the writer insisted, I would back off. My problem with it is that "nor" is not necessary logically and therefore calls attention to itself, and with it you have "did not verb X nor Y", which sounds like a double negative or something. "Nor" would be right if it was "The calculations did not take into account the use of the full ordinal Likert scale in the analyses, nor did they the fact that all patients received all products in a crossover design." To me, your "nor" sounds like an unconscious little slip in that direction.

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 GPY's reply was promoted to an answer.

Sorry I didn't answer immediately, but this being the first time I have made use of Englishforum I believed I had made some formal mistake and my question was lost in the "cloud".

Anyway, thank you for your answer. However, I didn' understand the last half of the sentence that you changed: nor did they the fact … Perhaps a typing error?

I understand why you ask since you haven't been able to read it in its context. However, this sentence pertains to a comparison between the present study and a previous one. In the latter a simplified form of statistics was used, in which all criteria of a Likert scale were dichotomised. The "calculations" you refer to were the outcome variables. The point of the sentence was that if you do not use all criteria of a Likert scale in the analyses, you lose statistical Power.

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