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    #1

    too or either

    Hi everybody,

    Please help me with the use of too in the sentence below:

    “Children should spend only a small part of their free time playing video games. They mustn’t forget to do other things, too.”

    I think it should be either. I am very confused because the sentence is from an English textbook!

    Please help me and correct me if I am wrong. Thank you very much.
    Last edited by phung; 08-Mar-2011 at 03:57.

  1. Soup's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: too or either

    Hello phung,

    Children should spend only a small part of their free time playing video games. They mustn’t forget to do other things, too.

    It means that children should spend their free time doing more than just playing video games. They should (also) do other things too.

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    #3

    Re: too or either

    Hello Soup,
    Thank you so much for your explanation. Now, I realize that, to deal with the question, native speakers focus on the meaning of the two sentences, not on the grammar structure mustn’t…either of the second sentence as I do.

    But I still think that the two sentences sound rather odd, or unnatural. What do you think if I rewrite them as follow:

    Children should not spend most of their free time playing video games. They must remember to do other things,too/either.

    Children should not spend most of their free time playing video games. They mustn't forget to do other things,too/either.

    or it’s better to write:

    Children should spend only a small part of their free time playing video games. They must remember to do other things, too.

    I would like to know your opinion. Thank you so much again.
    Last edited by phung; 09-Mar-2011 at 08:09.

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    #4

    Re: too or either

    Quote Originally Posted by phung View Post

    Children should not spend most of their free time playing video games. They must remember to do other things, too/either.

    Children should not spend most of their free time playing video games. They mustn't forget to do other things, too/either. Soup's explanation works for this.

    Children should spend only a small part of their free time playing video games. They must remember to do other things, too.
    These are fine - but the original sentence is neither odd nor unnatural.

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    #5

    Re: too or either

    Dear teachers,

    Thank you so much for your answers. How interesting they are!

    For a long time, I have been taught to use too/so in affirmative statements and either/neither in negative statements, to show similar or equal experiences.

    For example:

    I like music. He likes music, too.
    She isn’t happy. He isn’t either.

    So, I bear in my mind that I must apply the same grammar to the sentences I posted, and it turned out that I was wrong!

    Why can’t we use either instead of too in the sentences I posted? Is the use of too in the sentences I posted totally different from what I have been taught?

    Would you please clarify this for me? Are there any differences in grammar category?

    I wish you good health and thank you so much again.
    Last edited by phung; 10-Mar-2011 at 08:15.

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    #6

    Re: too or either

    Quote Originally Posted by phung View Post
    Dear teachers,

    Thank you so much for your answers. How interesting they are!

    For a long time, I have been taught to use too/so in affirmative statements and either/neither in negative statements, to show similar or equal experiences.

    For example:

    I like music. He likes music, too.
    She isnít happy. He isnít either.

    So, I bear in my mind that I must apply the same grammar to the sentences I posted, and it turned out that I was wrong!

    Why canít we use either instead of too in the sentences I posted? Is the use of too in the sentences I posted totally different from what I have been taught?

    Would you please clarify this for me? Are there any differences in grammar category?

    I wish you good health and thank you so much again.
    I am not a teacher.

    What you were wrong about was the sense of the sentence. "Either" refers to "forget". With "either", the sentence would mean that they must not forget to do other things in addition to not forgetting to ... what? Nothing. The sentence does not mean that there are two things to remember.

    "Too" refers to "other things". They must not forget to do other things in addition to the thing you already mentioned---the playing of games.

  3. Soup's Avatar
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    #7

    Thumbs down Re: too or either

    Quote Originally Posted by phung View Post
    Why canít we use either instead of too in the sentences I posted
    Because you're focusing on the wrong verb. The agreeing idea is positive, not negative:


    [1] Children should play video games, but they mustn't forget to do other things too.


    • play video games and do other things either
    • play video games and do other things too

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    #8

    Re: too or either

    [QUOTE=phung;724015]
    For a long time, I have been taught to use too/so in affirmative statements and either/neither in negative statements, to show similar or equal experiences.

    For example:

    I like music. He likes music, too.
    She isn’t happy. He isn’t either.

    So, I bear in my mind that I must apply the same grammar to the sentences I posted, and it turned out that I was wrong!

    Why can’t we use either instead of too in the sentences I posted? Is the use of too in the sentences I posted totally different from what I have been taught?

    QUOTE]

    Take another look at your original example:

    "Children should spend only a small part of their free time playing video games. They mustn’t forget to do other things, too"


    "They mustn't forget to do other things , too." Let's break up this sentence into two sentences to clarify its meaning:

    "They should do other things too. They mustn't forget this."

    See? Now you have got the "too" in an affirmative statement. You can't say:"They should do other things either". As coolfootluke said "too" refers to "other things" and "either" refers to "forget". I give you an example of how we can use "either" in a similar situation:

    "Children mustn't forget to wash their hands before meal. They mustn't forget to brush their teeths, either."

    You can use "too" as well:

    "Children must wash their hands before meal. They must brush their teeth, too."

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    #9

    Re: too or either

    Dear teachers,

    I would like to thank you all for your time and your useful comments, especially Soup and fivejedjon. I think that, as an English learner, I have learnt a lot from you.

    However, there is something I am still not sure about, and I need to have your confirmation, so that I can make a rule for myself. I would like to express my point below. Please correct me if I am wrong.

    1. In the pairs of sentences below, we imply the comparison or the similarity between two people or two things.

    I like music. He likes music, too.
    (Positive statement + positive statement ....too)

    She isn’t happy. He isn’t, either.
    (Negative statement + negative statement ....either)

    2. In the sentence I originally posted, I notice that there is a difference in meaning. In this sentence we do talk about requirement or giving advice.

    “Children should spend only a small part of their free time playing video games. They mustn’t forget to do other things, too.”

    The sentences imply that there are two things the children must/should do:

    Play less video game + do other things ... too
    Positive statement + Positive statement ... too

    Despite the fact that the form of the verbs in the pair may be affirmative or negative, we focus only on the idea.

    Am I correct up to now? If yes, please tell me.

    3. If all my theory I have presented is correct up to now, I would like to continue that I am not sure about Khosro’s explanation:

    "Children mustn't forget to wash their hands before meal. They mustn't forget to brush their teeths, either."

    Please forgive me, Khosro, but my opinion is that the verb forget has a negative meaning, and that not forget means remember so I think I can apply Soup’s opinion as follow:

    Children should:

    Wash their hands before meals + brush their teeth ...... too
    Positive statement + Positive statement .. too

    I would like to have your opinion. I wish you all good health and thank you again.
    Last edited by phung; 16-Mar-2011 at 03:39.

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    #10

    Re: too or either

    Quote Originally Posted by phung View Post
    1.
    I like music. He likes music, too.
    (Positive statement + positive statement ....too)

    She isnít happy. He isnít, either.
    (Negative statement + negative statement ....either)

    2.
    Play less video game + do other things ... too
    Positive statement + Positive statement ... too

    Despite the fact that the form of the verbs in the pair may be affirmative or negative, we focus only in the idea. Am I correct up to now? If yes, please tell me. Not really. In your examples above, the choice between 'too' and 'either' depends on the form of the verb.

    3. If all my theory I have presented is correct up to now, I would like to continue that I am not sure about Khosroís explanation:

    "Children mustn't forget to wash their hands before meal. They mustn't forget to brush their teeths, either."

    Please forgive me, Khosro, but my opinion is that the verb forget has a negative meaning, and that not forget means remember so I think I can apply Soupís opinion as follow:

    Children should:

    Wash their hands before meals + brush their teeth ...... too
    Positive statement + Positive statement .. too
    Consider these sentences:

    1. Children should rememember to do their home work. They should remember to tidy their rooms, too.
    2. Children shouldn't forget to do their homework. They shouldn't forget to tidy their rooms, either. Thinking of 'forget'as having negative meaning isn't helpful here.
    3. Children should spend only a small part of their free time playing video games. They mustnít forget to do other things, .?..

    #1 and #2 convey approximately the same message. However, #1 is affirmative + afirmative, too, # 2 is negative # negative, either.

    In #3 we have affirmative + negative .?. The affirmative/negative form of the verb does not lead us automatically to a too or either, so our choice depends on our subconscious analysis of the message, which is that they should (affirmative) spend (a) little time playing and (b) do other things. So, affirmative message + affirmative mesage, too.

    It would be possible to argue that the messages can be analysed thus: they (a) should spend not much (negative) time and (b) mustn't (negative) forget to do other things. So, negative message + negative message, either. This interpretation is theoretically possible, but the overall affirmative idea that the children should do (not just remember or forget to do) two things is more important.

    Having said all that, I should add the depressing (for you) news that in normal conversation we often do not think things through as logically as that. You may well hear things said that are not in accordance with the ideas I have outlined.

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