English as a Second Language/usage of the word "and'


Dear Shannon,
I'm not sure if I should use the word "and", "or", or "nor" in the following sentences, or if all three words are grammatically correct.
1. I don't like basketball and football.
2. I don't like basketball or football.
3. I don't like basketball nor football.
I believe that you can only use the word "and" for the positive, i.e. I like Chinese food and French food. I think you have to use the words "or" or "nor" for the negative.

Sorry....I had answered this question the day you sent it, but for some reason, it didn't go through.

The best answer here is #2.

Most grammarians agree that #3 is a double negative and therefore should be used with "or," not "nor."

The construction of #1 should probably be saved for things that are inseparable, such as, "I don't like rice and beans" (where the meaning is actually "with").

English as a Second Language

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Shannon Cole


I can answer questions related to learning the English and Spanish language.


I have taught ESL and Spanish since 1998 at the university and middle school levels. I am a native of the U.S., and have taught in both the U.S. and Mexico.

I am owner and operator of www.coleinstitute.com, an online language school.

Georgia TESOL in Action (1999)

B.A. in Spanish; M.Ed. in Language Education

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I have clients worldwide, some who want their documents proofread, and others who take lessons with me through the Internet. Some work at high-profile companies and government organizations. Besides the U.S. and Mexico, my recent students come from South Korea, Switzerland, Turkey, Colombia, Russia, Italy, Paraguay, China, Japan, the Philippines, and Saudi Arabia.

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