agreement with so and neither

6

We agree with positive statements using so-too:

I have a red car.
(Sara) So does Sara

But with the negative statements we use neither-either:

I don't have a brother.
(Jhon) Neither does Jhon

So I can say that the most important thing before giving your agreement is to know whether the sentence is positive or negative and then to agree as I did in the examples above.
But these sentences let me think many times:

I have nothing to do.
(I) so do I
or
Neither do I

So the question is:
Should I consider the last sentence positive or negative?
Look at this sentence too:

The boy is impolite (It means that the boy is not polite)
(girl) so is the girl
or
Neither is the girl

I mean if there's a prefix (which changes the word to the opposite), then the sentence will be negative in meaning so either or neither is used?

kathrine

Posted 2014-06-12T13:37:57.873

Reputation: 167

I've made some edits to your formatting, see this meta post for more tips.

– jimsug – 2014-06-12T13:40:50.297

How can you separate each sentence in a box then determine the question?? – kathrine – 2014-06-12T13:45:07.757

I'm afraid I'm not sure what you mean. If you mean those boxes for quotes, and that I've somehow changed your question, you can rollback the changes. The quote boxes are made by prefixing the line with > - you can see this in that meta post I linked to in the original comment. However, your original question as nearly unreadable, as markdown doesn't insert linebreaks if there isn't an extra empty line or two spaces following the previous paragraph. – jimsug – 2014-06-12T13:52:09.487

About my orginal question:when I first write it(in ask a question window,it was fine and I did every thing you said includes an extra empty line and the spaces.But when I post it it turns to be unreadable with no line breaks.This is what happens with me in every question I ask.Anyway,I read your meta post,maybe I have some trouble – kathrine – 2014-06-12T14:05:45.050

Answers

6

There are only a few markers in English which make a question a "negative-polarity" question:

  • No
  • Not
  • Nothing
  • Never

And any of their combined/contracted forms ("cannot", "don't", wasn't", etc.)

If and only if any of these appear in the sentence, it is considered a negative-polarity sentence and the "agreeing" response uses "neither":

  • I had no idea.
  • I was not present at the time.
  • I had nothing to do with it.
  • I never heard any complaints.

agreeing reply = Me neither!

A prefix on a word which reverses its meaning, even "non-", does not convert the sentence to negative polarity:

He was very non-committal.
- So was she.

Hellion

Posted 2014-06-12T13:37:57.873

Reputation: 18 009

But I have nothing to do means I don't have anything to do.How can I agree on this sentence?? – kathrine – 2014-06-12T14:43:23.753

4"I have nothing to do" -> "me neither." (due to the presence of nothing.) Likewise, "I don't have anything to do" -> "me neither." (due to the presence of not (contracted to n't).) – Hellion – 2014-06-12T14:47:43.297

What about this one? - I wouldn't have nothing to say. Should I reply with - So would I, or - Neither would I? – Daniel – 2014-06-12T20:57:43.043

Assuming that is the "colloquial emphatic double-negative", it's still a negative statement (as seen by the presence of "not" and "nothing") and therefore takes "Neither would I" as an agreement. – Hellion – 2014-06-12T21:00:32.137

1

I was taught that you have to match"So do I".

I have a red car. So has Sara.

I don't have a brother. Neither has John.

I have nothing to do. Neither have I.

Rushn

Posted 2014-06-12T13:37:57.873

Reputation: 167

We use do for the agreement when have means possession, whether negated or not: so does Sara, neither do I. If have is used to form a verb tense, then it appears in the response. At that time, I had not gone running. Neither had she. – Esoteric Screen Name – 2014-06-13T03:12:52.600