I love reading and over the past few years I’ve been trying to do more – particularly reading Australian novelists.
But there are some things creeping into Australian writing that I’m not at all comfortable with…
Some of the books I’ve read have been written by former students (don’t they put me to shame), some fellow journalists (yes, they put me to shame too), some fit into both categories (now they’re just showing off), some neither.
And there it is the word that starts my first dilemma.
I first encountered it in a novel by one of Australia’s best selling female novelists.
A simple phrase. Someone said they didn’t like something, and the reply came: ‘Me either.’
I re-read it. No, it definitely said ‘either’.
But that makes no sense. You can’t have me either!
In the sentence above the reply should have been: me neither, or more formally neither do I.
As in, I don’t like this either, but you would never write ‘me either’.
That’s just not English!
Either is usually used in the context either or… and neither, neither nor.
You either like this… or you don’t. Or: you like neither one… nor the other.
Digging around ‘me either’ is often acceptable in American English. In the context of meaning me too, but it’s still clumsy and grammatically incorrect!
I know, I know language is a living thing that evolves – but I’m sorry, this is not one I’m prepared to accept.
And THEN we come to my next pet hate which is now more common THAN ever.
Yes, the whole then v than debacle. I now see and hear ‘then’ used incorrectly on a daily basis, often by well educated people working in communications.
I can’t believe it’s eight years and eight months since I wrote my original blog about this, and if anything it’s getting worse.
Maybe it’s time I retired. But then again…