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I was talking with someone who's trying to quit smoking. Then the topic moved to how I want to live here because of poor air quality in my hometown and I said this:

I don't want to get lung cancer like you do.

Is it correct to say that? How about:

"I don't want to get lung cancer like you don't"?

I know that this is a correct way of saying:

I don't want to get lung cancer either.

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    To clarify: did the person you were talking to have lung cancer, or not? – sumelic Oct 10 '16 at 4:05
  • You can't do lung cancer, you have lung cancer. So "I don't want to get lung cancer like what you have." – user3169 Oct 10 '16 at 4:27
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    Mick's answer looks good, but I prefer the version you say you know is correct: "I don't want to get lung cancer either." It seems more natural to me. – snailcar Oct 10 '16 at 5:12
  • Do you mean that the other person wants to get a lung cancer, doesn't want to get a lung cancer, or has a lung cancer? – JiK Oct 10 '16 at 8:15
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    @user3169: "do" can be used to refer to an earlier verb in the sentence, so "like you do" here could mean "like you want" or "like you get". I agree that neither is particularly natural, though. – psmears Oct 10 '16 at 12:58
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I don't want to get lung cancer like you do.

This seems to imply that your friend does want to get lung cancer (which is a little ridiculous). To make it clear that neither of you want to get cancer, a better way to phrase it is:

Like you, I don't want to get lung cancer.

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    I could see the first sentence being said in the case where the speaker is trying to goad the listener into quitting smoking. (Of course, no one really believes the that listener wants to get lung cancer, but the point is that the listener seems unconcerned about the serious health risks.) It would be a form of sarcastic hyperbole. – J.R. Oct 10 '16 at 9:35
  • @J.R. You should make that into an answer. It seems far more likely to be the correct interpretation of the speaker's intent than any of the answers posted so far. – Mason Wheeler Oct 10 '16 at 14:48
  • @J.R. "I was talking with someone who's trying to quit smoking." That is, the listener already has declared the intention not to continue smoking and increase his/her risk of lung cancer. To say "like you do" implies that you do not believe the intent to quit is sincere; that is, you are implying that the listener secretly wants to continue smoking in order to get cancer. – David K Oct 10 '16 at 20:52
  • @DavidK - I don't think any smoker wants to get lung cancer. Rather, I think smokers who are uninterested in kicking the habit would rather contend with the risk than quit – not quite the same thing. – J.R. Oct 11 '16 at 1:14
  • @J.R. We're not discussing what smokers really want. We're discussing the meaning of the sarcastic hyperbole conveyed by "like you do." Since it is sarcastic hyperbole, it can literally impute quite absurd motivations to its object. – David K Oct 11 '16 at 4:14
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The clause "like you" just has to be separated enough so that it clearly refers to the whole previous sentence "I don't...".

Use any of the following

I don't want to get lung cancer, same as you.

I don't want to get lung cancer, just like you (don't).

I don't want to get lung cancer either like you.

Like you, I don't want to get lung cancer.

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    I'm not really that fond of the third one. It reads awkwardly and sounds wordy. – J.R. Oct 10 '16 at 9:37
  • The last one is perfect. I am a big fan of rearranging words/phrases to make things more clear. (See also @Mick 's answer.) – Ghotir Oct 10 '16 at 20:07
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Only the first sentence is inappropriate, I don't want to get lung cancer like you do.
As Mick also said in his answer, it sounds as if the listener wants to get lung cancer (like you do). The other two constructions are fine.

In a conversation, the person could say any of the following

I've moved away from the city centre because just like you,
I prefer not to get lung cancer

OR

I don't want to get lung cancer, like you don't.

OR

You don't want lung cancer and neither do I

OR

Neither of us want to get lung cancer

  • I want to be smart like you
  • I want to have a house like yours
  • I want to speak five languages like you do/can

Negative clause

  • I don't want to be smart like you (aren't)
  • I don't want to have a house like you have (don't)
  • I don't want to speak five languages like you do/can (don't /can't)

When two people share a common desire.

  • Neither of us want to be smart
  • Neither of us want to have a house like his
  • Neither of us want to speak five languages
  • When I saw the improved formatting, it was too late, I had already answered. So, I've expanded my answer. – Mari-Lou A Oct 10 '16 at 6:15
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It depends on what meaning you want to convey.

If your meaning is: "You have lung cancer, but I don't want to get it" (this is probably the least polite, because you're focusing on the fact of your friend's cancer):

I don't want to get lung cancer, like you did.

If your meaning is: "You don't want lung cancer, and neither do I". (Note that the "to get" is removed, because the friend can't "get" cancer - he/she already has it):

I don't want lung cancer, just like you don't.

Another alternative:

I'm trying to avoid lung cancer, like you are. (That is, "are trying")

This is polite (because you're not focusing on the fact that your friend has lung cancer, but that he/she is trying to avoid or recover from it). It also uses the more active verb "avoid". The stronger verb emphasizes your strong desire not to get cancer.

This does stretch the meaning of "avoid" to include "recover from", but I think this is acceptable in casual conversation.

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