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The other day, I heard someone say:

I want it either.

It comes strange to me. I'm usually used to hear/say:

I want it too.

Is it grammatically correct to use either of them?

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2  
Are you sure you didn't hear, "I don't want it either." instead? It is not correct to say, "I want it either." –  JLG Feb 15 '13 at 13:50
    
What JLG says. I don't want it either can sound like I-o wannit either in fast speech. –  Cerberus Feb 15 '13 at 13:52
    
And "I don't want it either" does mean "too," "I don't want it, just as he doesn't." –  Andrew Leach Feb 15 '13 at 13:52
    
@AndrewLeach: I don;t want it either may also mean I want that no more than I want the other thing which can't be expressed with too. Murky waters; best not stirred. –  TimLymington Feb 15 '13 at 14:05
2  
Either is a Negative Polarity Item. Too, on the other hand, can't occur with a strong negative: *She doesn't like it, too. Many of the little words that cause problems are NPIs because problem sentences tend to be full of negation. –  John Lawler Feb 15 '13 at 16:34

3 Answers 3

up vote 2 down vote accepted

*"I want it either" is certainly incorrect, though "I want either" and "I don't want it either" are both standard and common.

I suspect that the person you heard use "I want it either" was modelling their use on the latter.

Here we're following a previous negative statement with agree in a later sentence, an extension of it's adverbial use in:

I don't like him, and I don't like her either.

Some would object to "I don't want it either" (and even more to the more heavily elided "me either") that neither should be used instead. However, the use is certainly common. (Especially in American English, those who would insist on neither are more often British or Irish, though both opinions are found with all forms of English).

Indeed, ?"I don't want it, too" would here be the confusing case; arguably justifiable, but certainly at least strange.

That there is a common use of either that is similar to the form you heard, suggests that they are mistaking one use for the other, especially if they're a non-native speaker, as you say.

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Thanks. You were very thorough. –  Alireza Noori Feb 15 '13 at 16:54

No, the word "either" suggests a choice where "too" means "also".

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So, the sentence "I want it either" is not correct, right? –  Alireza Noori Feb 15 '13 at 14:11
    
@TecBrat, I think you should also cover the agreement-with-a-negative-statement meaning: A: I don't like Justin Bieber. B: _I don't either. Your answer is incomplete otherwise, and, after all, the OP was probably referring to this sense of the word. –  Shawn Mooney Feb 15 '13 at 14:20
    
@AlirezaNoori I think you are correct. Another has already answered much better than my answer, and that better answer was selected, so I'll leave it as is. The "also not" connotation did not cross my mind earlier. –  TecBrat Feb 15 '13 at 20:49

Answer

No, they are not interchangeable for two reasons - grammar and meaning.

"I want it too." means that I want it.

If I heard someone say, "I want it either" I would think their usage strange but I would understand it to mean "I don't want it."

So the two have opposite meanings in my opinion.

Explanation

You will sometimes hear "Me either". This is invariably used to mean "Me neither."

Example

1.

"I don't want it to rain."

"Me either."

This is quite common in informal speech and means "Neither do I."

By extension we can imagine the following conversation.

2.

"I don't want it to rain."

"I want it either."

This has every appearance of being an over-generalisation of version 1. Probably by a non-native speaker.

P.S.

Apologies if I have duplicated some of what has already been said by others, including in comments. I hope I've added something and also successfully drawn together other people's explanations.

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