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"I couldn't sleep last night. I bet you guys couldn't either".

Does the second sentence mean "I bet you too, guys"?

Is it correct to use "either" like that or is it just slang?

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    "I bet you too" doesn't make sense! That would mean that I had bet some money or something, and now I was betting who ever I was talking to. Apr 1, 2014 at 7:23

1 Answer 1

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When you want to say that you, or someone else, has done the same as someone else, you use too, indeed.

However, in the negative, if you want to say they have not done something, just like someone else has not done it, you use either.

I enjoyed watching the game. I bet you guys enjoyed it too!

But:

The game was boring, I could not watch it till the end! I bet you guys could not either!

Alternatively, you can substitute neither for not either (thanks WS2):

The game was boring, I could not watch it till the end! I bet you guys could neither!

If you would use too in a negative sentence, it means something else:

I scored 1000 points in this game. I bet you cannot do it too!

Notice that now, I did score those points, and I am betting that someone else can not do it.

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  • Nice analysis. I'll just add that too is probably best classed as an additive focus particle here: 'The [additive] focus particle indicates that its referent is added to a previously mentioned set of referents.' ... For example: John plays guitar.... I do too. [various websites] I suppose 'either' is also an additive focus particle, its referent being added to a previously mentioned set of referents attaching to a negative verb construction. Apr 1, 2014 at 8:29
  • 'The game was boring, I could not watch it till the end! I bet you guys could not either!' I think I would say '...I bet you could neither.'
    – WS2
    Apr 1, 2014 at 8:45
  • Good point. I'll add that :)
    – oerkelens
    Apr 1, 2014 at 8:50
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    @WS2 Actually, I wouldn't say that, though I might say '...I bet neither could you.' That's because neither and nor are used in this sense at the beginning of clauses and short answers instead of not .. either - but you can't put them at the end of a clause.
    – Alicja Z
    Apr 1, 2014 at 8:52
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    Thanks,Edwin, for the terminology, which I was looking for. However, to add my bit, I would say 'I couldn't either', or 'neither could I', rather than the alterhatives above. I certainly wouldn't say 'could not either' or 'could neither'.
    – user169286
    Apr 7, 2016 at 17:56

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