"Je n'ai ni thé ni tisane, mais j'ai du café."

Translation:I don't have either tea or herbal tea, but I have coffee.

June 20, 2020

This discussion is locked.


Indeed, the "correct" English sentence is just wrong!


It's not wrong, it's just different. But both are accepted so everyone is happy! Lolol


I'm a professional editor. It's just wrong. The "either" does not belong there under any circumstance. It's a total misunderstanding of that word's meaning and usage. It also shows the writer is ignorant of the use of "neither . . . nor", which would be correct in that sentence.


As someone who has spoken British English as his native tongue for over 70 years, I agree with GraemeSarg and Roody (both native speakers I believe). You will hear Duo's construction in spoken English ALL THE TIME and no-one thinks twice about it or calls the Grammar Police. If you use the 'neither ... nor' in everyday speech people are liable to think you are 'showing off' a bit. It is more likely to be found in written English, which may explain why a professional editor prefers it. But the construction is natural and grammatical and is found in respected publications such as 'The (London) Times, 'The Guardian' or 'The Economist'. (I will now get downvoted en masse so this will never be seen again!)


As a professional you ought to know that is incorrect.

The two expressions are logically identical, although I agree with you that "neither … nor" is a superior way to express that logic, and as an editor it is the one that you should be insisting upon.

But you need to swot up on your references.

Try something like:
R. Huddleston & G.K. Pullum (ed.), The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language, Cambridge University Press 2016, p. 1310.

All three of the following are logically equivalent: [52]
i She found it neither surprising nor alarming. (=[48i])
ii She didn’t find it either surprising or alarming.
iii She found it both not surprising and not alarming.


Your English must be severely lacking if you think the word "Either" belongs in a negative statement.


@ro0odie, I think that the translation Should be : "I have neither tea, nor herbal tea, but I have some coffee."

(The word "some" being optional)


Duo accepts "Neither ... nor" but you have to type it letter by letter.


For me, in English, this sentence sounds very odd. The "either" seems completely out of place. It seems that it should be either "I don't have tea or herbal tea, but I have coffee" or "I have neither tea nor herbal tea, but I have coffee"


Duo accepts the latter version


The construction used by Duo is correct.

"Whereas in English you have three ways to express the negation - not either… or / neither… nor… / not... or... - in French, you only use ne... ni... ni..."

I added the emphasis. Note again that the first option listed is "not...either...or" which is correct grammar even though a few people here are always posting that it isn't correct.



The link you site is a website written by a native FRENCH speaker. The sentence is grammatically INCORRECT in English. Believe what you want to. You're just wrong.


What you say here matches exactly what I was taught at school 30 years ago (UK). Maybe common/preferred usage has changed over time.


Not/either/or is apparently permitted in English(US) but does anybody know for certain whether it is correct in English(UK)?

I do not know whether our schoolteachers train us not to use it because it is incorrect in UK English or whether we are trained that way because it is merely frowned upon. It's even possible that UK schoolchildren are no longer trained that way, I would be unlikely to know.

When kwiziq says that it is OK in English, I have no idea whether they mean English(US) or English(UK) or whether they have checked that it is valid in both.


It's a general rule of English language grammar. I have read that grammar instruction in British schools isn't the greatest.


The general rule is actually that it's a two-way choice.


Herbal tea is a kind of tea. For negatives "nor" should be used. This whole sentence doesn't make any sense


I think that in French "thé" implies tea made with tea leaves, while herbal tea is for all other types.


I would say, "I don't have tea or herbal tea, but I do have coffee". (As a kiwi!)


Why are there no article before the words tea and coffee here?


I believe this is because of the "ni" these negatives don't take articles.


But in the rice question previous: He doesn't like either plain rice or rice with vegetables ' they put in articles ... Seems like the same construction to me.


Indefinite articles are dropped but definite articles are retained.


From Kwiziq:

"When using ni, you omit the article after ni, unless you're talking about general things and using le, la, l', les."



So does that mean that a generalised definite article is retained, but a specific definite article is dropped?

That kind of makes sense, but I have not seen that distinction made elsewhere.


Again, Duo, this sentence is grammatically incorrect English. You either need to lose the "either" or use "neither...nor".


"Tisane" is a valid English synonym, imported from French, for herbal tea.

[deactivated user]

    Agreed, I have seen tisanes on menus in trendy cafes in Canada too.


    It's certainly in both the OED and Merriam-Webster.


    Shouldn't it be "I neither have tea nor herbal tea" neither nor insted of "either or'n't"


    In UK English it should be. It is not yet clear whether it has to be.

    In US English it does not have to be, nor does it seem that it ought to be.


    I don't know where you get that. I'm a professional editor and native American English speaker. We would use neither/nor in that sentence. As Duo wrote it it isn't correct English anywhere.


    ... but I do have some coffee!


    Please advise why this response is incorrect: I have neither tea nor herb tea, but I have coffee. In English (US), herb tea is herbal tea.


    American native (and tea lover) and I've never heard "herb tea." I would assume that was a DL way of saying tea with marijuana. HAHA


    Same in Canada. "Herb" with no other context would refer to marijuana as slang.


    but a previous sentence insisted on ni la tarte aux cerises ni les biscuits When do you put an article in an when do you leave it out???


    Indefinite articles are dropped but definite articles are retained.


    English is a joke for Duo


    That's why he speaks American! 😆


    What a bigoted comment. Wow.


    It is rather unmotivating to be forced to give wrong answers


    Well, this is a lively language debate, which is great, I appreciate, and I follow. I'm just happy if the French is correct, as I 'get' the English meaning. Also, as I quite dislike tea. Sorry! to half the planet. Yay coffee!


    Yes, people would generally understand the desired meaning here, but it's not correct English.


    The correct translation should be "I have neither tea nor herbal tea"


    This never-ending controversy about 'either ... or' after a negative verb where native speakers saying it's correct get downvoted out of sight by those who have learnt their English out of a book, reminds me of a tweet by a British comedian on Twitter at the beginning of January 2022: 'My new year resolution this year is to annoy less grammar pedants'.


    Tisane can be used to mean a herbal infusion or tea in English. It is not wrong. This section is neither interesting nor helpful.


    "Infusion" is also used in French, by the way.


    one way to serve em briish


    Here is the rule: https://www.francaisfacile.com/exercices/exercice-francais-2/exercice-francais-71251.php However, I still do not understand why "je n'ai ni du the ni de la tisane" is wrong when duo says "j'ai du cafe".


    Why does it have to be herbal tea? The word tisane is used in English-a lot of shops sell tisane. Reported it


    It really would be better to say I have neither tea nor herbal tea.( in my humble opinion)


    In England we don't say 'herbal tea'. 'Herb tea' should be accepted.

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