ENGLISCH/740: Questions to Mrs. Gobbledygook (117) Me too! (SB)


117. Short sentences of agreement

Dear Mrs Gobbledygook

[...] Would it be correct in colloquial English to say instead of a well-chosen answer of disagreement: Me neither? I've heard it on the radio but it didn't sound right to me. [...]

Thank you in advance for your help,

Johann Olivier (Cape Town, Africa)


Dear Mr Olivier

Although the English language is influenced by what I see as a virtual pandemic of verbal shortness, it has always been an unwritten rule that you can use short sentences of agreement instead of a well-spoken answer. For example we can say:

I like gardening.

And the response can be:

So do I!

But can we say: "Me too!"? Yes, we can. It is a little more informal than "So do I!" but it is frequently used. Now, for the next example. When we say:

I don't like pop music.

The appropriate short version of agreement would be:

Neither do I.

And we can also say:

I don't either.

And now we come to your question: Can we in that context say:

Me neither!

Well, that is something that native speakers of English say in informal situations but in British English at least it is not considered as elegant as the other two replies. Here they are again with the sentence about pop music.

I don't like pop music.
Neither do I.
I don't either.

Interestingly the form "me neither" does occur even among university students and others who pride themselves on being educated although they would regard it as irritating, illiterate or "dclass" when being asked about it. So if you are not sure about the circumstances and your listeners, you should not use "me neither". And neither do I.

Mrs Gobbledygook

11 July 2007