I'm sometimes confused with the use of neither. The basic grammar with it and its counterparts (like either and nor) is clear. My question is which of the following sentences is used in certain situations, or which one is correct (if one of them is not).

  1. I neither like it.
  2. Neither do I like it.
  3. I don't like it either.
  4. I don't like it, too.

I would say the 4th one is wrong, but I hear it a lot and wanted to be sure whether I can use it or not.

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I neither like it

is not a complete sentence. You could complete it, for example, like this:

I neither like it nor hate it.

Your second sentence is not idiomatic:

Neither do I like it.

When someone says

I don't like it.

You could respond with:

Neither do I

without repeating the "like it" part.

The third sentence is all good

I don't like it either.

And the fourth is not idiomatic either, since "too" isn't usually used with negative verbs. That's what "either" is for. This is not to say that "too" is utterly wrong, but pretty unusual and definitely not Standard English.

  • Could I say "I neither like it nor do I hate it", or I don't need the auxiliary verb? – Anonymus Dec 31 '16 at 11:59
  • @Anonymus. Not really. You could say though: I don't like it. Nor do I hate it. – Armen Tsirunyan Dec 31 '16 at 12:03
  • Kate Bates gave the examples: "I neither like it, nor do I want it!" and "He neither invited me to his party, nor did I wish to go!" These are correct, aren't they? Sorry for questioning again... – Anonymus Dec 31 '16 at 12:16
  • @Anonymus: Yes, but they seem to have a literary vibe to them. Do note the comma in both sentences though. – Armen Tsirunyan Dec 31 '16 at 12:23
  • Grammarly also warned me about the commas, thank you very much for your help – Anonymus Dec 31 '16 at 12:26

Questions 1 and 4 are incorrect.

(1) is incorrect because 'neither' requires 'nor' to balance it out - it's like a negative 'both/and'. E.g.: "I neither like it, nor do I want it!" (As opposed to, "I both like it, and I want it!")

(4) is incorrect because 'I don't like it' is already negative. It can stand alone. Neither, as explained above, is negative. You can say instead, 'I don't like it either'. The 'either' is the balancing element for the negative, 'I don't'.

She retorted, "He neither invited me to his party, nor did I wish to go!"

"I don't enjoy parties either," Thomas answered, gloomily.

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