Difference Between Nor and Or


Main Difference

The main difference between Nor and Or is that Nor is used more in a negative term, whereas Or is used with more positive terms.

Nor vs. Or

The word ‘nor’ is used with the word ‘neither.’ The word ‘or’ is used with the word ‘either.’ Nor is used in a sentence, if the second disjunctive in a negative sentence is a verb clause. Or is used in a sentence if the second alternative in a negative sentence is an adjective, adverb, and a noun.

‘Nor’ is generally used as not. ‘Or’ is used as ‘and,’ more commonly used than the word nor. Nor is taken as the opposite for or. Or is not having the meaning of opposite of nor. Nor is ever taken in a more negative sense. Or is ever taken in a more positive sense and optional term. In modern terminologies, As nor is used in negative sentences and or is used in non- negative sentences.


Nor and its relative term neither is commonly used while making adverse decisions and with negative choices. It generally used when a man wants to describe the negativity and untrue nature of more than one item. ‘Or’ is used when one wants to make positive and accurate decisions between more than one thing.

Comparison Chart

Negative termPositive term
Three lettersTwo letters
As ‘not.’As ‘and.’
Connected With

What is Nor?

Nor is an entirely English term. It is pronounced as /nɔː,nə/. It originated from the word ‘nōther’ which was used in Old English. Then in Middle English, ‘nōther’ converted into ‘nāhwæther,’ which termed as neither’ or ‘Nor.’ It used from 1300-50. Nor is used after an affirmative clause and in continuation terms. Nor while compare to ‘or’ has three-letter with an additional letter ‘N.’ It is generally used with the word ‘not’ and give its meaning more systematically.


Nor is also used to combine different forms, as it used for naming the different chemical compounds which are denoted by the base words and used for standard and parent form of the compounds. Nor is generally follows by the word “neither” when both these terms used in the same sentence. As in the sentence, “ He likes neither rice nor olives.” In this sentence, nor follows the word neither. Nor is used in more than one item, but it not used after each element like ‘or.’ The nearby words which seem to relate to the word ‘nor’ are nope, no-pal, etc.


  • Neither Ben nor Kevin are going to the party.
  • Neither John nor I ate.
  • I heard neither the doorbell nor the alarm clock.
  • Her tone was neither unpleasant nor pleasant.
  • He did not pity the birds nor the fishes.

What is Or?

Or is pronounce as /ɔː/. It came from the word ‘other’, which was used in Old English, and then it changed into ‘other’ which used in Middle English and then it modified into ‘or.’ ‘Or’ is also used with “and,” which is another conjunction term. It is used instead of ‘and’ to show a connection between more than two items. We write as mangoes, bananas, or grapes to explain the choices between different kinds of fruits.

‘Or’ is also used in legal, formal, authoritative, and purely business terms. Some critics take this ‘or’ as a selection or a shortcut, which damages the sentence structure. Or while compare with ‘nor’ has two letters with the absence of third letter ‘N’ which is present in ‘nor.’ Or is used to connect alternative. It used to present reconsideration normally in the shape of a question. As the example shows, ‘what did you like most – tea shirt or dress suit?’ It also used to introduce a synonym or to explain a preceding phrase or a word. As the example shows, “Exercise helps to posture our body or modify.” It also used to introduce the expected results or the consequences. As the example shows, “Get up, or we’ll be late.” It also used in archaic terms.


  • Was he guilty or not?
  • We’ll be there within fifteen or sixteen minutes.
  • Is it right or wrong?
  • The road is sixty or seventy miles away.
  • Would you want to take coffee or tea?

Key Differences

  1. Nor works in a more negative sense on the other side Or works in a more positive sense.
  2. Nor is used in informal terms whereas Or is used in formal and legal terms.
  3. Nor can be used to show the connection between two items while Or can be used to show the connection between more than two items.
  4. Nor is taken as ‘not’ on the other hand Or is taken as ‘and.’


Nor and O,r both these words almost sound like, but from the above discussion, we come to this point that these words have different usage, structure, and function.

Aimie Carlson

Aimie Carlson is an English language enthusiast who loves writing and has a master degree in English literature. Follow her on Twitter at @AimieCarlson