Submitted by andy  •  December 21, 2003

“Me neither.” or “Me either”

Speaker A: I don’t like going to the beach when it is cold outside. Speaker B: Me neither.

According to an english grammar website, speaker B is wrong. “me neither” should be changed to “neither do I” or “me either”

I see “me neither” used most frequently on the web. But I think I hear people use “me either” more frequently in speech. Which is correct? Why?

Comments Sort by:   Oldest first  •  Latest first  •  Rating

I started to think about this. This is what I thought about the "either" or "neither" situation.

First, neither "me either" nor "me neither" is a proper use of formal English and I think that is why there is so much confusion. I think that website I pointed you to is correct, and I think I can explain why.

You use either with a negative phrase, as in "I do not want to go either".
"neither" is essentially "not either", so you use it in a confirmitive of a negative as in "Neither do I"

So which is correct "me neither" or "me either"?

Example 1:
I can't wait for Christmas.

You could answer this:
"I can't either" or "Neither can I". Both are correct.

If you answer "Me either", the question is - what is the unstated verb phrase/clause?
It is the "can not" of the original statement. Since that is a negative, you should use "either".

If you answer "Me neither", you are changing the unsated verb phrase from "can not" to "can" as in "Neither can I". I think it is improper to do that.


Example 2:
I don't want to go to the store.

You could answer:
"I don't want to go either" or "Neither do I"

If you say "Me either", the unstated is "don't want to go to the store". As that is a negative statement, "either" is again, correct.

If you say "Me neither", you have changed the unstated phrase to "want to go to the store" as in "Neither do I want to go". But I think you should be affirming or negating what was said. "Me neither" does not do that, so I think it is incorrect.

34 votes Vote!  •  URL to this comment  •  Report Abuse

Anything that native English-speakers say is correct. If people say "me neither" and a so-called grammar website says that's wrong, the website is rubbish.

10 votes Vote!  •  URL to this comment  •  Report Abuse

You can't say <i>me neither</i>. What you want to say, ideally, is <i>neither do I</i>. If you don't wanna say that, say <i>I don't, either</i>, which explains why we must say <i>me either</i> and not <i>me neither</i>, in this particular case.

5 votes Vote!  •  URL to this comment  •  Report Abuse

I'm surprised that they're concerned with the neither and not the me. The me is an object, but to be a response to the first statement, it should be a subject. Anyway, object pronouns are starting to do the duty for both in America, so it's only "wrong" for those who are trying to Latinize English. I don't see what's wrong with neither though...

4 votes Vote!  •  URL to this comment  •  Report Abuse

kjg

3 votes Vote!  •  URL to this comment  •  Report Abuse

LOL. It didn't even occur to me that "Neither is incorrect" had a double-meaning in the context of this discussion. *Duh*

What I meant of course was that neither NEITHER nor EITHER is incorrect in the expression "Me n/either". I didn't mean that NEITHER was incorrect in the context of "Me n/either". Do you understand that now? Me neither. I mean either. Oh f*ck it.

:D

3 votes Vote!  •  URL to this comment  •  Report Abuse

NEITHER NOR
EITHER OR

the FORMAL way to use neither is... neither can i, neither do i or nor do i...

you use EITHER when a negative clause is implied.. for example i do NOT want to go to school EITHER.

NEITHER CANT be used when a negative clause is implied... for example, you CANT say: i do NOT want to go to school NEITHER.. that's wrong! the correct way to say it..NEITHER DO I, NOR DO I.

now it is common to use ME NEITHER or ME EITHER(they are BOTH informal like dont/do not and doesnt/does not) it is NOT just me neither*.. but still it is more acceptable to say me NEITHER as a short answer than me EITHER..

even though they are both used, EITHER was NOT meant to be used that way as me either ..just becuz people get lazy and just rather say me either(normal in american english) EITHER's correct use is to use it with sentences with negative clauses on it (dont, doesnt, isnt, im not, arent) NEITHER CANT be included in this cuz that would mean you are using double negation which is WRONG

but for the original question ... THEY both are informal but *me NEITHER* is still correct.. some people use me EITHER and even though people understand it and it's normal in american english to say it..GRAMMATICALLY correct the use of either is not for me either

2 votes Vote!  •  URL to this comment  •  Report Abuse

Whoever just wrote that parody on linguistic imperialism and bigotry is a comic genius. :D

2 votes Vote!  •  URL to this comment  •  Report Abuse

There is a distinction between British English and American English. As language is primarily a means of communication it works when it is understand. Yet to answer the question I believe the use of 'neither' here would be attributed to American English.

2 votes Vote!  •  URL to this comment  •  Report Abuse

I go with the general flow: 'me neither' is absolutely standard spoken English, but there are (formal) occasions when 'neither do I' would be more appropriate. But my main concern is 'me either', because there is no negative; it makes no sense to me. 'Not me either', though unidiomatic would at least make sense.

It seems however, that 'me either' is in common use in North America:
http://throwgrammarfromthetrain.blogspot.com/20...

but the usually pretty laid-back Prof Paul Brians at WSU Common Errors sees it as an error:
http://public.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/meeither.html

1 vote Vote!  •  URL to this comment  •  Report Abuse

I think the example is correct. I was in the process of writing a script for a local news broadcast and I was curious which was the proper, "me neither" or "me either". I thought it was the second but I have often heard the first used and also have seen it typed online. But when I said it in my mind I thought something sounded...off. So I looked it up. It may not really be considered a big deal in most every day life, however, I do not wish to use improper english in matters that are meant to be taken seriously and which are professional. So I will be using the second.

1 vote Vote!  •  URL to this comment  •  Report Abuse

Ether is used to avoid a double negative people. that plane...that simple.

1 vote Vote!  •  URL to this comment  •  Report Abuse

The difficulty is that Americans neither write nor speak English; they use American, a dialect based on English, but now far removed from it.

One has only to consider the abomination "gotten", an archaism which disappeared from English in the late eighteenth century, but was cocooned in America following the revolt against Britain, which resulted in the isolation of the United States from the remainder of the English-speaking world for several decades.

Some of the annoying, but fascinating developments of American, as opposed to English, are the rolled Rs which all Americans use, but which occur in very few areas in the UK, and not at all in other former British colonies, and the dialect’s grating attempts at shortish As, of which there are two variants, that used in such words as "last", and that employed in "can't".

Apart from Canada, every other English-speaking nation eschews these odd pronunciations, and a long A is used except by those in Yorkshire and Lancashire and thereabouts, where a genuine short A, rather than a strangled cross between the two, is used for both words.

Yet the Yanks pronounce "father" correctly; do any of the more educated Americans ever think about the idiocies of their spelling and pronunciation? Do any of them yearn to speak English?

1 vote Vote!  •  URL to this comment  •  Report Abuse

Tim,

The first version of both examples is correct. In the second version of your examples you have a double negative. If you expand the contractions it becomes a bit more clear, i.e. "I would not neither understand nor believe in what I saw...". In addition to being incorrect, the double negatives would cancel each other out and change the meaning of the sentence.

Ian

1 vote Vote!  •  URL to this comment  •  Report Abuse

Is either with a long e or long i just like tomato/tomato or is there a proper time to use the long e separate from using the long i

1 vote Vote!  •  URL to this comment  •  Report Abuse

Why is everyone debating the pronunciation? Andy was asking about 'either' versus 'neither.'

1 vote Vote!  •  URL to this comment  •  Report Abuse

Glenn: "Everyone" is not debating punctuation. I was simply attempting to answer Michelle's question.

Dave: Love your last para...very good breakdown of the right way to look at this... however, you may want to substitute "both can be considered correct" for "neither is correct," as you don't mean to say "either is incorrect." lol.

1 vote Vote!  •  URL to this comment  •  Report Abuse

Both "me neither" and "me either" are correct. How can that be? They both are short forms. "Me neither" is short for "neither do I" while "me either" is short for "I don't either". Back in the olden days, we wouldn't hav put two said vowels together … like me + either. Thus we said "mine eyes" (e on mine is silent) or "mine eyen" rather than "my eyes/eyen" which is likely why most or many folks like "me neither" better. But that "rule" is not noted much nowadays.

Anent the "me" instead of "I", it's the old dativ form. We see it in "methinks" (It seems to me) from Old English "mē thyncth", from mē "to me" + "thyncth" — "it seems" (3rd person, sing.) from "thyncan" — seem; akin to, but sunder from, think).

1 vote Vote!  •  URL to this comment  •  Report Abuse

Anything but "me too"

0 vote Vote!  •  URL to this comment  •  Report Abuse

@Hairy Scot - "Nor I", would be pretty formal, I think. "Nor me" sounds more neutral to me. Some possible answers, in descending order of formality, the numbers are the number of hits in the British National Corpus (when followed by a comma or full stop):

Nor I. (12)
I don't either. (0)
Nor do I. (19)
Nor me. (16)
Me neither. (10)

http://www.natcorp.ox.ac.uk/

0 vote Vote!  •  URL to this comment  •  Report Abuse

@WW
I agree.

It is plain that we are on the same plane!

:-))

0 vote Vote!  •  URL to this comment  •  Report Abuse

LOL!....The last thing they're doing is being "pompous." They're showing there view on a certain grammar lesson. Which from what I know, in AMERICA, is always "me either." To an American(or at least me), "me neither" is somewhat childish...Kind of like "me shneither." If you were talking, especially formally, you would never(again in America) go out of your way to say me neither. That's just my opinion and observation. No need to get complacent and overjudgmental.

0 vote Vote!  •  URL to this comment  •  Report Abuse

American grammar websites and books tend to be very restrictive and authoritarian. We don't put up with that sort of rubbish down here (Australia).

Both are correct in American English.

0 vote Vote!  •  URL to this comment  •  Report Abuse

Aw, he's just letting off steam, as must all bags of hot air from time to time. ;D Self included (i.e. my latest protestant thesis against the industry-catholic style manuals).

I actually speak American English with an accent so "pure" that a professional linguist with the American military who I dated for a while said it was one of the things that attracted him. If Ken, who presumably would prefer to speak Norman French if he could get away with it, heard American English described as a "pure" anything, he'd probably spontaneously combust.

0 vote Vote!  •  URL to this comment  •  Report Abuse

"Me too" for positive repetitions.. "Me naither" for negatives.. lol

0 vote Vote!  •  URL to this comment  •  Report Abuse

Good day everyone!
My name is Tim, I'm from Moscow...

I've got a question about how should I write the following:

1. I can neither understand nor believe in what I saw..... (something)
OR
1.1. I can't neither understand nor believe in what i saw.... (something next)
2 I would neither understand nor believe in what I saw..... (something)
OR
2.2. I would't neither understand nor believe in what I saw..... (something)

I'm a little confusing about this... :-)

Thank's in advance
Tim

0 vote Vote!  •  URL to this comment  •  Report Abuse

kjh

0 vote Vote!  •  URL to this comment  •  Report Abuse

Michelle,

A quick check on the Merriam-Webster Online dictionary gives the EE pronunciation first, followed by "also" and the I pronunciation. So either is correct (heh, heh).

Seriously... I happen to be an American English speaker living in Texas, and I work for a multinational oil-industry company. The Americans and Norwegians seem to prefer EE while the Canadians and Scots seem to prefer I. One of my college roommates, a girl from Iran, used EE, while the other, a South-African with a Boer last name, used I. A boss I had several years ago who came from Mumbai used the I as well.

I would conclude that the I pronunciation is probably used more by people whose speech tends toward the British as spoken in England and her current and former territories.

0 vote Vote!  •  URL to this comment  •  Report Abuse

Damn! I am so provincial. Of COURSE many of the United States are former English possessions (and it's there that you find the greatest acceptance of the I pronunciation in this country). Texas was never an English possession, though :)

0 vote Vote!  •  URL to this comment  •  Report Abuse

My Husband and I get into this "me either" "me neither" discussion all the time. As I am an American, if he said, "I cannot wait for Christmas" I have always very naturally replied "me either". He always corrects this and supplies "me neither". (pompous ass?) LOL. I have always very naturally had a sense of this is a positive, excited, type statement when someone says it. Usually because of their gestures and expression. In my mind that requires a more positive type response so "me neither' just feels negative in my view.
As for the term "gotten"...........SO IT WASSSSSSSSSSSS included in English at one time? Maybe we Americans just moved before it died out over there! In my view just because you kicked a word out of your version of English doesn't mean it never existed as acceptable. The fact of the matter is all English was bastardized long before there were American English speakers. If you English speakers were still speaking the true queens tongue, before the rule books were written, and edited several times over, nobody would be complaining about who speaks correctly or incorrectly. We would all sound funny period! Language is language and there are subtle or profound changes between nations, tribes, colonies, races, etc. It all boils down to context and how something is being expressed physically and emotionally, whether or not you will understand it as it is conveyed. It's the expression that prompts the response. Another thing I do during this discussion of "me either/neither, when I say something like, neither "me neither or me either" is incorrect...I differentiate with " Neyether, neether nor eeither. is incorrect" So I even switch up the pronunciation phonetically. Which really drives my pompous ass of a husband nuts LOL.

0 vote Vote!  •  URL to this comment  •  Report Abuse

A Briton would hardly recognize the construction "Me either," which tends to be an exclusively American grammatical phenomenon in my experience. "Me neither" would be the preferred British expression.

Neither is incorrect. American English is American English and British English is British English. It seems useless to debate what it would be in a formal context, since it is hard to imagine in what formal context the phrase would be used.

0 vote Vote!  •  URL to this comment  •  Report Abuse

I mean "pronunciation," natch... still have not had my coffee this morning...

0 vote Vote!  •  URL to this comment  •  Report Abuse

Language changes and is transmitted orally. Saying something is "correct" or "incorrect" is incorrect. There is "accepted among certain people" and "not accepted among certain people." Language changes through "misuse," slang, solecism, malapropism, you name it. The prigs on here need to go relax somewhere nice and peaceful and stop school-marming the rest of us peeps ("peep" has entered the vernacular now, peeps).

0 vote Vote!  •  URL to this comment  •  Report Abuse

In the context of:-
"Speaker A: I don’t like going to the beach when it is cold outside.
Speaker B: Me neither (or Me either)"
I think that "nor" is preferable to "neither" or "either".
Whether it be "nor me" or "nor I" is a different story.

0 vote Vote!  •  URL to this comment  •  Report Abuse

He didn't remember and neither did I.
I hadn't been to New York before and neither had Jane .
‘I can't understand a word of it.’ ‘ Neither can I .’
( informal ) ‘I don't know.’ ‘ Me neither .’

0 vote Vote!  •  URL to this comment  •  Report Abuse

Your Comment