It cannot, nor it is not. – 'double inversion'? :)


I know that nor normally insists on the inversed word order, as, for example, in:

Nor is it sufficient to add that…

But sometimes (rare) I meet not-inversed sentences.
Just two examples:

[i]It cannot, nor it is not.

Nor it is worth pursuing that the sandwiches at 10 Downing Street were probably very much better than those in The Centenary at Norton.[/i]

Could you explain, in what cases the inversion with nor is NOT used (and why)?

Hi Tamara,

Your two examples:

sound very odd to me and cry out for inversion. Where do they come from?


Hi Alan,

Both are taken from the British National Corpus.

(My own examples are all just ‘in spoken’.)


They still sound very odd and I believe that not having inversion after ‘nor’ should be avoided. The only thing I can think of this early in the morning would be a sentence following in parethesis but then requiring inversion later as in:

Nor, it should be noted, would that be acceptable.


Aha… So the rule is strict.

Thanks a lot, Alan.

it’s very odd

Maybe it should be:

It cannot be, nor is it.

“It cannot be” is a statement to the effect that something cannot happen (in the future or as a rule – axiom).

“Nor is it” means that it is not (whatever).

Because we’re dealing with both present tense and an expectation for the future, this should be stated thusly:

It is not, nor can it be.

I don’t know… :? :cry:

All I did was a search in the BNC with nor it is, because it was the exact part of a sentence I had been actaully confused…

… Have a look: … =nor+it+is

the correct order in that phrase is “nor is it…”