Friday, June 26, 2009

Today's Quiz, No. 4

So, according to the Chicago Manual of Style, which of the following is the correct?

Neither Melanie nor I watch much television.


Neither Melanie nor I watches much television.


tomanonymous said...

Neither - Everybody knows Melanie digs a fine TV program as much as anybody.

Who Am Us Anyway? said...

Cool conundrum & since i don't think the Chicago Manual actually says anything about this I would go with the 99.9999 percent reliable rule that if it hurts your ears, it's wrong.

So in this case since your ears will burn with pain unless you go with the verb (watch or watches) that fits the subject ("I") that is RIGHT FREAKING NEXT to the verb, it has to be "neither melanie nor i watch."

By the time you get to "I watch" in that sentence, melanie's presence earlier in that sentence is old history & so doesn't annoy, but to say "I watches" grates like a Bushism.

So my money is that's what the Chicago style would say if it says anything about it although it would use actual, whatchacallim, reasons. Now please send me my No Prize at your earliest convenience!!!

mister muleboy said...

why, that whacky tara treasurefield informs us:

according to the Chicago Manual of Style, compound subjects joined with either-or or neither-nor take the form of the verb that goes with the subject closest to the verb, in both number and person. Here are a few examples:

Neither Sarah nor Sam plans to attend the concert.

Either George or the twins are going to bring the sushi.

Neither Henry nor his sons have a Prius.

Neither the boys nor Henry has a Prius.

And (drumroll):

Neither Melanie nor I watch much television.

By the way, neither-nor is a pair of correlative conjunctions. Like other correlative conjunctions (as-as, if-then, either-or, both-and, where-there, so-as, and not only-but also), neither and nor used together “join successive clauses that depend on each other to form a complete thought.” (Chicago Manual of Style.)

So I don't really know what the Chicago Manual says, only what somebody says it says . . . .n

mister muleboy said...

Your virtual prize [and Lordy, wasn't it a big one!] was sent out today, UPS.

Who Am Us Anyway? said...

Yahoo! Thanks man! This totally makes up for the incredible No Prize drought that's going on for me over at Simels' place. Uh oh. Or is it Simels's place? Well i can't hear the extra 's in "Simels's" so i'm not using it. Dare i eat a peach? Yes!