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Me either vs. me neither


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Me either vs. me neither #16 (permalink) Sun Mar 06, 2011 13:02 pm   Me either vs. me neither
 

Hi Atomos, I would not say that 'either' is the 'negative counterpart of too'. Maybe the following Wikipedia quotation helps you understand how to use these words:

Either/or means "one or the other." Its usage, versus the simple or structure, is often for emphatic purposes, sometimes intending to emphasize that only one option is possible, or to emphasize that there are only two options. Its use in a sentence lets the reader/listener know in advance that a list of two or more possibilities will be given. Its negative is neither/nor, meaning "none of them".

I don't like ice cream.
Nor do I.

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Me either vs. me neither #17 (permalink) Sun Mar 06, 2011 13:16 pm   Me either vs. me neither
 

Well, I believe "either...or" and "neither...nor" are quite different from "either" and "neither" used in the context we are discussing, both grammatically and semantically.
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Me either vs. me neither #18 (permalink) Sun Mar 06, 2011 13:18 pm   Me either vs. me neither
 

And I believe that 'either' is not the 'negative counterpart of too' as you put it.

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Me either vs. me neither #19 (permalink) Sun Mar 06, 2011 13:32 pm   Me either vs. me neither
 

Never mind, Torsten. Come to think of it, maybe I was wrong. If 'either' really were the negative counterpart of 'too', the use of 'not' in its sentence would be redundant and considered double negative.
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Me either vs. me neither #20 (permalink) Sun Mar 06, 2011 17:52 pm   Me either vs. me neither
 

We should ask Michael Swan for some pieces of advice, I think. You got what I mean? Practical English Usage may not point out fully this but we can still get some useful information when looking at 'either' and 'neither' indices. 'Me either' sounds weird just as it's not been commonly used enough. But we can be sure that, in this sense, 'neither' can only be use with an inverted order. Nothing is impossible, especially for the matters of a language. Wouldn't native speakers focus on the common sense-nature of language? The beauty of our language, Vietnamese, is that it has hardly any rule, easy to imitate but hard to understand fully as no rule build up all reflections (meanings) of words.
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Me either vs. me neither #21 (permalink) Mon Mar 07, 2011 0:54 am   Me either vs. me neither
 

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Me either vs. me neither #22 (permalink) Mon Mar 07, 2011 2:22 am   Me either vs. me neither
 

Atomos wrote:
To be honest, I find this rule ('me either' being grammatically incorrect) very weird. If I understand correctly, "either" is the negative counterpart of "too" while "neither" is the negative counterpart of "so" as demonstrated in their usages.

1a. I do, too.
2a. I don't, either.

1b. So do I.
2b. Neither do I.

Yet, we can say "me too" but not "me either." Very odd, indeed.

You've understood my point pretty well, Atomos, except that we can and DO say 'Me either'. The main problem here seems to be that a rather small minority of English speakers (the ones on the other side of the pond) have elected NOT to use this particular version of an informal expression. And don't forget: The expression 'Me neither' is also informal.

The word 'either' is used in negative sentences and functions with a negative statement the same way the word 'too' does with an affirmative statement. The word 'either' in and of itself is not negative, however in a short (ellipted) response to a negative statement, the meaning of 'Me either' is perfectly clear and is also in common use: the negated verb has simply been ellipted. And as we all know, ellipsis is very common in English. Also keep in mind when we use 'me (n)either', typically more than just the verb has been omitted from the sentence. Just look at how many words were omitted from my 5th example below!

'Me neither' is an informal response, and so is 'Me either'. However, just because a response is informal does not mean it should not or cannot be used.
If you want to respond with a short response that is more formally correct in terms of grammar, then you should opt for things such as the following:

- Neither do I.
- I don't either.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Specially posted for "Mr. Doubting Thomas Torsten": Below are some of the many examples to be found in COCA:

- " I have no idea, " Gary said. " Me either, " said Rick, " But it can't be too tough. "
('Me either' = I have no idea either.)

- " I'm not climbing back up there, " Hannah said. " Me either. "
('Me either' = I'm not climbing back up there either.)

- Don't get me started, Bill. O'REILLY: Me either.
(The sentence above is interesting in that the word 'me' is completely grammatical in this case. The response means 'Don't get me started either'.)

- GIFFORD: So I think it's very smart of her, and I can't wait to see what happens next in her political career. KOTB: Me either. Did you see this...
('Me either' = I can't wait either.)

- " I'll tell you one thing, though, " Libby said to her sister. " I sure wouldn't have wanted to go to boarding school here. " // " Me either, " Bernie agreed. "
('Me either' = I wouldn't have wanted to go to boarding school here either.)

- " Well, I didn't know until now, " Kate says. // "Me either, and my fingers itch to take my phone and call Nathan and see if he's heard.
('Me either' = I didn't know until now either.)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The above examples of 'Me either' are all responses to negative statements, and were taken just from the top third of the first page of the search results for 'me either' in COCA. I could have posted many, many more. In fact, I didn't even bother posting all the examples I found in the first third of the first page. I thought these examples were enough.

Of course there are also other ways that the word 'me either' can turn up in a sentence (it's likely at the end of a negative sentence, for example). But that has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that 'Me either' is also in common use as a way of agreeing with a negative statement. If it is used in response to a negative sentence such as 'I don't like it', then the negated verb (don't like) has been ellipted in 'Me either' -- leaving the word 'me' as the only true grammatical oddball, just as 'me' is a grammatical oddball in the expression 'me neither'.
;-)
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Me either vs. me neither #23 (permalink) Mon Mar 07, 2011 9:01 am   Me either vs. me neither
 

Bookaholic_English wrote:
'Me either' sounds weird just as it's not been commonly used enough.


You're in the wrong.
Haven't you read what ESL_Expert aka Amy has written here? If not, then take the trouble to do so, because she was crystal clear that in her neck of the woods, "me either" is perfectly correct.

I'm thinking to chalk up this discrepancy between Alan's and Amy's opinions to one of the many differences between AmE and BrE.
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Me either vs. me neither #24 (permalink) Mon Mar 07, 2011 9:03 am   Me either vs. me neither
 

Hi OTS,

And that's not the only 'discrepancy''!

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Me either vs. me neither #25 (permalink) Mon Mar 07, 2011 10:07 am   Me either vs. me neither
 

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Hi James,

I follow your plea for harmony but I really can't see why you have to set it out as if it is a question of respect between two versions of English as used in the UK and the USA. The differences are interesting but at the same time we are talking about a language that is subject to change and variation from all parts of the world. This whole kerfuffle started because I said that 'me either' sounded odd to me and Amy has also said that an expression used in the UK can sound equally odd to 'American ears'.

That's the interesting point, that's the fascination about language. We should be able to say: That sounds odd to me without a speaker in another country rushing to say: That doesn't sound odd to me and you have got it wrong because here are some examples to prove my point. It still sounds odd to me but that doesn't mean I won't accept that it sounds fine to someone else. I might well say: This food tastes odd to me but there's little point in someone saying to me: Here are a thousand people that do like the taste. I believe I am sufficiently well balanced to accept there are differences but I don't see this is basis for dispute.

Fundamentally this isn't a simple right or wrong matter, it is a matter of difference. And thank goodness for that! How boring if everyone spoke the same way and sounded the same.

Alan
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Me either vs. me neither #26 (permalink) Tue Mar 08, 2011 2:51 am   Me either vs. me neither
 

Hi Alan,

I respect the spirit of respecting difference and individuality to enjoy a pavonine community, which you have stated above.

Respectfully,

James
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Me either vs. me neither #27 (permalink) Tue Mar 08, 2011 8:28 am   Me either vs. me neither
 

Hi James,

Could you explain exactly what you mean by what you have just written. It is not at all clear to me!

Alan
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Me either vs. me neither #28 (permalink) Wed Mar 09, 2011 7:49 am   Me either vs. me neither
 

Hi Alan,

What I really meant to express was what I wrote above; really, Alan, no any other meaning. I'd like to make many friends here, though I have found sometimes that it's quite difficult to make myself understood by others through my posts; maybe it's due to my poor expression or the limitation of communication.

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Me either vs. me neither #29 (permalink) Wed Mar 09, 2011 9:01 am   Me either vs. me neither
 

HI,

That's not really an answer, is it? What do you mean by this:
Quote:
to enjoy a pavonine community
?

Alan
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Me either vs. me neither #30 (permalink) Fri Mar 11, 2011 4:22 am   Me either vs. me neither
 

Indeed, up to now, it's not acceptable to use 'Me either' and 'Me neither' as short answers in formal language.......
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