2

Consider:

Too — (adv.) also, as well, in addition.

We don’t usually use too in negative clauses; we use either instead:

  • I don’t like that kind of stuff.
  • I don’t like it either.

That said, here’s my concern: I’ve heard a native speaker from the Lake District (in the UK) say “I won’t do it and she won't do it too.”

When asked if that's how he usually phrases such sentences, I got an affirmative answer. This then reminded me of John Lennon’s lyrics to his song “Imagine”, which I had always thought must be wrong:

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too

Is it grammatical in the UK (or in certain regions) to use too instead of either in such sentences?

  • 2
    Nope. It is poetic license – mplungjan Sep 8 '14 at 13:14
  • Would ... and she too won't do it bother you? – bib Sep 8 '14 at 13:16
  • You’re right that one used either in negative contexts, not also or too. But there’s no accounting for dialect use. – tchrist Sep 8 '14 at 14:04
  • @tchrist good job. – Centaurus Sep 8 '14 at 15:30
  • @tchrist I've found one instance of such usage in a dialect of the British Isles - Language in the British Isles, page 192 I'll search for more later – Centaurus Sep 9 '14 at 0:22
3

That particular instance shouldn't be construed as a negative clause for the purpose you suggest.

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too

In this case, the "too" is part of an enumeration of things Mr. Lennon is asking you to imagine.

To phrase it another way, imagine that there are:

  1. no countries (it isn't hard to do)
  2. nothing to kill or die for
  3. and no religion too.

More abstractly, then, imagine A, B, and C too. That the contents of C may be negative doesn't affect use of too.

Addendum

Note that this also applies to the following:

I don't like it.

I don't like it too.

You would certainly have no objection if we reworded slightly, still using the word too:

I don't like it.

I too don't like it.

  • 4
    +1. To phrase it in another way still, either and too don't actually mean the same thing here. It's the difference between "what you also don't get is religion" and "what you also do get is the absence of religion". The first option makes it sound like it's a bad thing, but the whole point of the song is that it's a good thing, and that's what the second option achieves. It's not about imagining how many things we could be lacking or missing, it's about imagining how many good things we could have. – RegDwigнt Sep 8 '14 at 15:34
  • I'm afraid this doesn't answer my question, which originally was: "Is it grammatical in certain regions of the UK to use "too" instead of "either"? – Centaurus Sep 8 '14 at 23:53
  • Then why did you add the part about "Imagine"? You should have left that out if it had no bearing on your question, or else tied up the relationship better. – Robusto Sep 9 '14 at 2:00
  • See my addendum. – Robusto Sep 9 '14 at 2:30
  • @Robusto My original text didn't mention the title of the song. Nor did it show the lyrics. It was edited by another member, though. – Centaurus Sep 9 '14 at 16:37
1

WELSH ENGLISH

The term is recent and controversial. English is, however, the majority language of Wales, and as in other parts of the English-speaking world, a concise term such as "Welsh English" appears unavoidable. (Nikolas Coupland, English in Wales, Clevedon & Philadelphia, 1990.)

Dialects of English in Wales are as diverse as elsewhere in Britain. They vary in terms of pronunciation, grammar, and vocabulary, but can be broadly categorized as: (1) The English of people who are bilingual, Welsh/English, and whose English is strongly influenced by Welsh. (2) Dialects of English similar to those of neighbouring counties of England, and often sharing features, especially at the syntactic level, with other working-class BrE dialects. (3) Standard English with an RP accent. (Loreto Todd, University of Leeds)

Among non-standard phrases and colloquialisms which reflect an influence from the Welsh Language, we can cite: "We're going out now, isn't it?", "Money they're not short of.", "There's lovely you are!". For more examples and detailed explanantions, see Language in the British Isles, page 192

Finally, typical of Welsh English is the substitution of "too" for "either" in negative sentences.

  • I don't like it.
  • I don't like it too.

Tom McArthur, The Oxford Companion to the English Language, Oxford University Press, 1992.

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