English Grammar: How to use too / either / neither

Lesson 1: When You Can’t Use “Too” (and “As Well”)

You can use too and as well after affirmative sentences. An affirmative sentence is a positive sentence (“I am a man”), NOT a negative sentence (I am NOT a man).

Correct Examples:

A: I like this song.

B: Me too. / I like it too. (= So do I. / I do as well. I also like it.)

A: I graduated from the University of British Columbia. 

B: Really? Me too! / I did too! (= So did I. / I did as well. I also did.)

Incorrect Examples:

A: My mother can’t drive a car.

B: My mother can’t too. / My mother can’t as well. 

^ These sentences are wrong! The first sentence is negative (can NOT), so you cannot use too after it. You should say:

“My mother can’t either.” – or – “Neither can my mom.”

A: I haven’t seen Michael today.

B: I haven’t too. / I haven’t seen him as well. 

^ These are wrong too! The first sentence is negative (have NOT) again. You should say:

“I haven’t seen him either.” – or – “Neither have I.”

Rule: when the verb is negative, you cannot use “too.” Remember that we are talking about the verb and NOT the meaning of the message. For example, “I hate carrots.” has a negative meaning, but the verb hate is not in a negative form. If you also hate carrots, you have to say “Me too!” since the previous sentence does not have “NOT” in it.

Note: The word never makes a sentence negative. For example, “I have never been there.” / “Me neither.” This is correct.

So what’s the difference between either and neither? That’s next.

Lesson 2: The Difference between Either and Neither

  • The word “either” is used with a negative verb (e.g. have NOT).
  • The word “neither” is used with an affirmative (positive) verb (e.g. have).

Both have the same meaning! Let’s look at one of the previous examples.

A: My mother can’t drive a car.

B: My mother can’t (drive) either. / Neither can my mom. 

^ Both of these answers are fine. Either goes at the end of a sentence that has a negative verb (can’t). Neither goes at the beginning of a sentence before an affirmative verb (can). Both expressions have the same meaning.

Let’s look at the second example:

A: I haven’t seen Michael today.

B: I haven’t (seen him) either. / Neither have I. 

That is the basic rule.

Sounds too Hard? Answer The Easy Way: “Me too” or “Me neither / Me either!”

Usually we talk about ourselves. So when you want to say that something is also true for you, you can say the easy answer “Me too!” instead of longer answers like “So have I! / I have also! / I have as well!”

There is also an easy answer for negative sentences that are true for you. You can just say either “Me neither! / Me either!” instead of “Neither have I. / I haven’t either.” This is the easiest answer.

Which is better: “Me neither” or “Me either”?

“Me either” has 9.8 million hits on Google. “Me neither” has 4.4 million hits. This suggest that “Me either” is a bit more common but you can use whichever you want.

Do you think you understand? Take the Quiz!

A: I’m hungry.

B: . I want to buy lunch but I don’t have any money.

A: . I hate being poor.

B: .

Answers

B: Me too / So am I / I am too.

A: Me (n)either / Neither do I. / I don’t either.

B: Me too / So do I / I do too.

My mother doesn’t have a job, and  ( neither / father).

I can’t drive a car, and ( brother / either).

You haven’t been to Taiwan. And (I / either).

Paul hasn’t done his homework. (neither / Jane).

Answers

… neither does my father

…. my brother can’t (drive a car) either

…. I haven’t (been to Taiwan) either

…. Neither has Jane.

He didn’t have an umbrella, and  did I.

This restaurant is cheap. The food is good .

I can’t understand this question. My mother can’t .

Answers

neither

too

either

I hope this is helpful. There are (of course) more advanced ways to use either and neither. But this should be a good first step. If you have any questions, please leave a comment below.

Good luck with your studies!

Matthew Barton / EnglishCurrent.com

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11 comments on “English Grammar: How to use too / either / neither

  1. Manasa (Posted on 8-7-2013 at 09:30) Reply

    Yeah..its nice

  2. fernando pinon (Posted on 10-14-2015 at 13:23) Reply

    thankyou for your help god bless you

  3. Kathy (Posted on 10-28-2015 at 10:03) Reply

    Thank you! Very helpful. I ‘m using your ideas for my adult ed class at the library.

  4. SSVR SRINIVAS (Posted on 12-8-2015 at 09:46) Reply

    Is it correct to use in short answers . I don’t like onions.nor does he

    1. mb Post author (Posted on 12-8-2015 at 14:23) Reply

      Yes, that short answer is correct, though it sounds a bit old fashioned. “Neither does he” would be more common, in my opinion.

  5. Gary (Posted on 4-21-2016 at 04:21) Reply

    Very clear and helpful, thanks!

  6. fahimeh (Posted on 5-13-2016 at 05:49) Reply

    that was wonderful

  7. Stanley Abu (Posted on 5-28-2016 at 16:36) Reply

    I do really appreciate you.God bless you, amen.

  8. Teika Ameiratrini (Posted on 2-16-2017 at 18:37) Reply

    I really love the explanation❤️

  9. Lill (Posted on 4-19-2017 at 08:20) Reply

    Thank you!

  10. Bindu gopan (Posted on 5-15-2017 at 10:28) Reply

    Thanku for ur help…

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