Archive for June 1, 2010

the difference between words: too and either/neither

eitherneither

Today, I have a blog entry for you about a common misunderstanding: the difference between “too” and “either”. Basically, it’s very simple: we use both “too” and “either” to say that something is also true for a second person or thing. The difference is that we use “too” for positive statements and we use “either” and “neither” for negative statements. For example:

I like pizza, and my wife does too.

I don’t like carrots, and my husband doesn’t either. 

A: I’ve been to Korea many times.

B: Oh really? I have too. What’s your favorite place in Korea?

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A: I’ve never been to South America.

B: I haven’t either, but I’d really like to go there one day.

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A: I can play the piano.

B: Oh really? Me too!

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A: I can’t cook very well.

B: Me neither.

There is no difference in meaning between “either” and “neither”. We use “either” when there is  another negative word in the sentence such as “not” or “never”. For example:

A: I’ve never tried scuba diving.

B: Oh yeah? I haven’t either.

However, we use “neither” when there is no other negative word in the sentence. For example:

A: I’ve never tried scuba diving.

B: Oh yeah? Neither have I.

So, we can say “Neither have I.” or “I haven’t either.” but we CANNOT say: “I haven’t neither.” because there are two negative words in the sentence.

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