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I was watching a TV drama where three people were looking for a kidnapped child and they said

Person 1) Any luck?

Person 2) Nothing.

Person 3) Me too.

I was a bit surprised because I learnt at school that when you agree with a negative sentence, you say "Me neither" instead of "Me too". Is "me too" acceptable when you agree with a negative sentence?

I'd like to know which reply you would say to the sentences below.

A) I found nothing. -> "Me too." or "Me neither."

B) I didn't find anything. -> "Me too." or "Me neither."

Thank you.

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    As a native BrE speaker I don't say "Me neither." I say "Nor me". Perhaps it's a regional thing. Dec 13, 2021 at 11:32
  • I'm a UK native, and I might say 'me neither' or nor me' as the mood takes me. I might say 'Nor I' if I were feeling a bit Victorian, and remembering my beloved Christina Rossetti. Dec 13, 2021 at 13:13
  • Who Has Seen the Wind? by Christina Rossetti - Who has seen the wind?/Neither I nor you:/But when the leaves hang trembling,/The wind is passing through./Who has seen the wind?/Neither you nor I:/But when the trees bow down their heads,/The wind is passing by. Dec 13, 2021 at 13:16
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    I think what you heard is merely colloquial speech. Native English speakers don't always follow grammar rules. You shouldn't be surprised because it's very common.
    – Billy Kerr
    Dec 13, 2021 at 14:48
  • I found nothing.= I didn't find anything. I'd therefore say: Me either.
    – Lambie
    Dec 13, 2021 at 16:00

2 Answers 2

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Regarding the dialogue from the TV show, I agree that "Me too" sounds strange there, but "Me neither" would also sound off. I think this is partially due to the fact that "Nothing" is not technically a logical response to "Any luck?" since "Any luck?" is a yes-no question. Therefore, the grammar of the conversation is already a bit out of sync even before Person 3 speaks. I think it would sound better for Person 3 to say, "Same here" in that situation.

FYI: I'm a native American English speaker, and I would say, "Me neither" in response to a negative statement containing "not" (or a contracted form such as "didn't"). It's a bit trickier with the word "nothing," though.

For example, this first exchange sounds acceptable to me:

Exchange 1:

A: Hey, guys, what did you find?

B: I didn't find anything!

C: Me neither!

However, it sounds less natural to my ears in this second version:

Exchange 2:

A: Hey, guys, what did you find?

B: (I found) Nothing!

C: Me neither!

I have an inkling as to why Exchange 1 sounds more natural to me than Exchange 2 does. The sentence "Me neither" can be rephrased as, "I didn't find anything either." In Exchange 1, this matches the sentence structure used by person B: "I didn't find anything!" Therefore, it's almost as if "Me neither" is parallel in structure to the statement it's in reply to, so it sounds more harmonious with the conversation.

However, in Exchange 2, person B says, "Nothing" instead of "not...anything." The sentence "Me neither" can be restated as, "I didn't find anything either," but you can't really come up with an equivalent sentence using the word "nothing." "I found nothing either" and "I found nothing neither" are both ungrammatical.

Therefore, the reply "Me neither" works as a reply to "I didn't find anything," since "Me neither" can be restated as "I didn't find anything either." In contrast, when person B says, "Nothing" (instead of "not... anything"), "Me neither" is sort of incompatible with that "nothing" sentence. As a result, it sounds a bit off-key as a response.

Never in a million years would I say, "Nor me" in place of "Me neither." However, when used in response to a sentence with an auxiliary verb, I might say, "Nor did I" / "Nor have I" / "Nor will I" etc.

For example:

A: I didn't notice anything unusual during my visit.

B: Nor did I. Everything seemed normal.

or

A: I've never been to that bar.

B: Nor have I, and I'd like to keep it that way.

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  • I think it often puzzles English language learners when people in TV shows and films don't speak like grammar robots. Dec 13, 2021 at 14:09
  • I often use Same here to respond to answers of nothing. What did you find? - Nothing. - Same here. Dec 13, 2021 at 14:12
  • A: [I found] Nothing. B: Neither did I.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Dec 13, 2021 at 15:18
  • @Mari-LouA : Are you saying that sounds ok to you? It doesn't sound ok to me. For it to sound natural to me, it would have to be, "I didn't find anything" and then the reply, "Neither did I."
    – zunojeef
    Dec 13, 2021 at 19:14
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It might be helpful to think about it like this:

The question asked was, "Any luck?", which was an abbreviated version of "Any luck regarding (progress toward) finding the kidnapped child?"

Any kind of positively-framed answer should reasonably interpreted as a "yes", and any kind of negatively-framed answer should reasonably interpreted as a "no".

Positive examples:

  • Yep
  • Possibly
  • I found something

Negative examples:

  • Nah
  • Nothing
  • I found nothing
  • Didn't find anything

The natural response from the next person would then be to answer the same original question using a positive or negative response. (Or, if their response is similar to the first person who answered, then perhaps they might mirror the answer.)

So, saying "Me too" (positive, yet mirroring — which is illogical) would be quite odd, but saying "Me neither" would be natural (negative and mirroring).

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