Main Difference – Nor vs Or
Or and nor are two coordinating conjunctions commonly used in the English language. Their main function is connecting two words or clauses. However, some people have trouble determining the correct use of these two conjunctions. The main difference between nor and or is that nor is generally used with negative statements whereas or is used with positive statements. In addition, ‘or’ is typically used with ‘either’ whereas, ‘nor’ is associated with ‘neither‘.
Or – Meaning and Usage
Or is a coordinating conjunction that indicates alternatives. This can be used to combine two words or two clauses. For example,
Do you want tea or coffee?
I don’t care about your money or status.
We’ll have to leave now, or we’ll miss the bus.
As seen from the above sentences, or is typically used in positive sentences. It is also used with the conjunction/adverb either.
This bag is available in either red or black.
He painted either in watercolors or charcoal.
Nor – Meaning and Usage
Nor is also coordinating conjunction that indicates alternatives. It is the opposite of or. This is because nor is always used in a negative sense. Look at the following sentences.
The museum will not be opened on Fridays nor public holidays.
Your opinion is not accepted by the critics, nor will it be.
However, in modern usage, replacing nor with or in some sentence structures is not considered a fault. When the second negative item is a noun, adjective, or adverb phrase, or can be used as a conjunction. In the first example above, nor can be replaced with or.
The museum will not be opened on Fridays or public holidays.
I’m not interested in Math or Science.
Nor is generally used with neither. For example,
She was neither his mother nor sister.
I’m neither a radical nor conservative.
Neither Jill nor Jack went up the hill.
She didn’t close the door, neither did we.
Difference Between Nor and Or
Nor: Nor is mainly used in negative sentences.
Or: Or is mainly used in non-negative sentences.
Either vs Neither
Nor: Neither is used with nor.
Or: Either is used with or.
Nor: Nor is not as commonly used as or.
Or: Or is more commonly used than nor.
In Negative Sentences
Nor: Nor has to be used if the second alternative is a verb clause.
Or: Or can be used if the second alternative is a noun, adjective, or adverb phrase.
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