Me neither

 

Q:

Can you offer an explanation for the use of the object pronoun "me" in the phrase "me neither"?

As in:

A.

I don't like football.

B.

Me neither.



Olga Rodriguez Charry
ABC English Institute
Bogota, Colombia
[email protected]
Posted 19 February 2003

A:
English offers a variety of ways to say that the second- mentioned person or thing has something in common with the first. In the case of the exchange above, possible rejoinders include these:

A:

I dont like football.

B:

Nor do I. (hyperformal, unnatural in conversation)

 

Neither do I. (standard)

 

I dont either. (standard, informal)

 

Me neither. (nonstandard)



Compare:

A:

I love pepperoni pizza with chocolate chips.

B:

So do I. (standard, informal)

 

I do too. (standard, informal)

 

Me too. (Very informal but common)



Why the objective form? Quirk et al., A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language (Longman, 1985) explain the usage of objective forms in informal usage (as in Whos there? Its me. or Hes more intelligent than her.) in terms of "subject territory" and "object territory." They say, "In informal English ?the objective pronoun is the unmarked [default] case form, used in the absence of positive reasons for using the subjective form."

In the present example, since there is no verb with which
to make the pronoun agree, the "unmarked? pronoun choice
for the rejoinder is me. The use of the negative adverb in Me neither makes the utterance not just informal but nonstandard. For teaching purposes its best to stick with the standard forms, at least for production.

Marilyn Martin