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ELC Boston ELC Grammar Lesson – Agreement Phrases May 30th, 2014

This week, one of our teachers, Matt, contributed to our blog and shared some helpful grammar tips for every day english.

 Teacher Matt’s Corner

Did you ever notice how sometimes the simplest things in life give you the most difficulty?  Like when you just want to buy a sandwich and they ask you, “What kind of bread do you want?  What kind of cheese do you want?  Do you want it toasted?  Do you want mustard or mayonnaise?”  And you’re thinking, “I just want a sandwich!”  Unfortunately, English can often be frustrating for the same reasons.  Sometimes you just want to say something really simple, but have so much trouble finding the right words or using the correct grammar.

For example, when you want to agree with someone and you don’t know exactly what to say.  Which of the following should you use?

Me too.

Me neither.”

I do too.

So do I.

I don’t either.

Neither do I.

Well, here are some rules for that situation;

  1. When someone makes a positive statement, and it is true for you, simply saying, “Me too” is appropriate in casual situations.

David:  “Barcelona is my favorite soccer team.”

Marco:  Me too!

June:  “I love watching horror movies.”

Yuko:  Me too!

The sentences, Barcelona is my favorite soccer team and I love watching horror movies are both positive statements, so if you agree with your friend, you can say Me too.

  1. When someone makes a negative statement, and it is true for you, simply saying, Me neither is appropriate in casual situations.

Paula:  “I’ve never been to Canada.”

Stephan: Me neither.

Mario:  “I really don’t want to do my homework tonight.”

Laura:  “Me neither.

The statements made by Paula and Mario are negative (“never”, “don’t”), so if you feel the same as them, you can reply, Me neither.  You may also hear people say, Me either, but this considered incorrect.

It is important to remember that Me too and Me neither are informal expressions and should be used in casual situations with friends.

More formal expressions are a bit more complicated.  Here are more rules:

  1. If someone makes a positive statement and you want to agree more formally, you have to use an auxiliary (or helping) verb such as a form of do, be or a modal verb (can, could, should, etc..)

Marcus:  “I can speak French.”

Sam:  “So can I.  (= I also can speak French)

Hyun:  I can too.”  (= I also can speak French)

Paula:  “I have 3 sisters.”

Niles:  So do I.  (= I also have 3 sisters)

Min:  I do too.  (= I also have 3 sisters)

The auxiliary verb in Marcus’ positive statement is can, so Sam and Hyun used it in their sentences because they also speak French.  Notice that there is no helping verb in Paula’s sentence, so Niles and Min had to add one in their sentences because they also have 3 sisters.  The helping verb they used is the one you would use in a question, “Do you have 3 sisters?”

  1. When someone makes a negative statement and you want to agree more formally, you also need to use an auxiliary verb.

Shin: “I’m not going out tonight.”

Franco:  “I’m not either.”  (= I’m also not going out tonight)

Valentina:  “Neither am I.”  (= I’m also not going out tonight)

Ashley:  “I didn’t do my homework last night.”

Nancy:  “I didn’t either.”  (= I also didn’t do my homework)

Bob:  “Neither did I.”  (= I also didn’t do my homework)

Notice that Shin used a negative statement with ‘not’ and the helping verb ‘am’, so Franco and Valentino use ‘am’ because they are also not going out tonight.  Similarly, Nancy and Bob used ‘did’ to agree with Ashley because she used the negative helping verb ‘didn’t’.

Now you practice.  How would you respond to the following:

“I am studying English.”

I ___  _____.”

or

So ___  __.”

or

Me  ____.”

What was your answer?  You could have said, “I am too.” or “So am I.” or “Me too.”  Which one is the most informal?  That’s right, the last one.

“I don’t live in New York.”

I _____   ______.”

or

Neither ___   __.”

or

Me ________.”

What did you say?  You could have said, “I don’t either.” or “Neither do I.” or “Me neither.” because you also don’t live in New York.  Which one is the most informal?  That’s right, the last one.

Okay, one more:

I love studying English!

I hope you said, “I do too! or “So do I!” or “Me too!