me either. me neither

In March 2002, I asked the editor of the Chicago Manual of Style the following question:

Q: To the statement, “I never heard of her,” is the grammatically correct response, “Me neither” or “Me either”? In what instances would one phrase be preferable?

A: My instincts tell me that “me neither” is correct on both counts. First, the “n” helps prevent a minor glottal stop between two vowels much as the “n” in “an” does before a word beginning with a vowel.

Second, if you are responding in the negative, you must signal the negative, which only “neither” alone can accomplish.

If you write a full response, the negative could appear elsewhere, requiring that you use “either”: I haven’t heard of her either.

Or you can use “nor”: Nor have I.

But certainly the negative signal should be there somewhere.

The dictionary says that “either” is used as an intensifier following a negative statement and that “neither” means “also not.”

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