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Too
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2013/02/10
4:21am
Raffee
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Recently, I was told that 'too', meaning 'also', is not used in negative sentences. I hadn't noticed such a thing and after looking it up in two dictionaries, found nothing. So, what's the story about 'too'?

2013/02/10
4:47am
Glenn
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I'm confused. You couldn't find the word "too" in a dictionary? That doesn't seem possible.

Generally "too" is a synonym for "also" in addition to its role as marking excess.

In informal contexts, you will hear both "too" and "also" in negative sentences where "neither" or "either" might appear in more formal contexts.

E.g.
I won't buy this shirt: It's too (excessively) expensive, and it doesn't fit, too (also)!

2013/02/10
5:45am
Dick
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Glenn said
I won't buy this shirt: It's too (excessively) expensive, and it doesn't fit, too (also)!

I'm not yet ready to doubt that "too"can be used in negative sentences because I haven't thought about it long enough, but your example here doesn't sound right, even informally. Also, I can think of several negative sentences in which "too" would be totally out of place. e.g. "This dog does not belong to my neighbor and it doesn't belong to me, too." I have never heard a rule that "too" can not be used in a negative sentence but it seems like a good rule in general, probably with exceptions.

2013/02/10
6:50am
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Here is a site. It does not mention a rule, but gives several examples consistent with Rafee's discovery and none contrary to it.

2013/02/10
12:41pm
RobertB
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Glenn's example seems to point to something else he didn't say: 'too' might just be for firming up the underlying intent, in which case all the rules about verb polarities are out the window:

This shirt will please my wife, who has expensive taste:

It is expensive, and it fits, too

This shirt is just vintage brother of mine, a fashion fool who also likes to waste money:

It is expensive, and it does not fit, too

This shirt is good for me:

It is not expensive, and it fits, too.

This shirt I give to my mother-in-law specifically to drive her crazy:

It is not expensive, and it does not fit, too

No?

2013/02/10
4:01pm
Glenn
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I agree with the naysayers. There are many, many contexts in which you cannot use "too" in negative sentences.

After all how different are these?

Chris and Leslie got the flu. Chris missed school. Pat missed school, too.

Pat and Lin got the measles. Pat didn't go to school. Also Lin didn't go to school.

Leslie and Glenn got mono. Leslie didn't go to class. Glenn didn't go to class, too.

Let me say that you will always improve a negative sentence if you make a more thoughtful choice: either, neither, besides, furthermore are some usual substitutes.

2013/02/12
3:54am
Raffee
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Glenn said
I'm confused. You couldn't find the word "too" in a dictionary? That doesn't seem possible.

I meant I found no explanation on its usage. 

        RobertB said

       Glenn's example seems to point to something else he didn't say: 'too' might just be for firming up the underlying intent, in which case all the          rules about verb polarities are out the window:

This shirt will please my wife, who has expensive taste:

It is expensive, and it fits, too

This shirt I give to my mother-in-law specifically to drive her crazy:

It is not expensive, and it does not fit, too

No?

No one answered him, or I couldn't figure out anything!

2013/02/12
3:16pm
RobertB
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I guess 'too' has some justifiable uses after 'not.'   But inevitably  that will distract some people into wondering why one would want to do that.  
Your first note about the dictionaries not spelling out the rule of usage –  that 's because they are all on the side that there is only 1 way to it, any justifiable exceptions too few, if any, to be worth clarifying the rule in a dictionary.
2013/02/12
5:10pm
Dick
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Here is a definition from Merriam-Webster free online dictionary listing three uses. The third has not been mentioned in this discussion, yet.

Definition of too:

1
: besides, also <sell the house and furniture too>
2
a : to an excessive degree : excessively <too large a house for us>
 

b : to such a degree as to be regrettable <this time he has gone too far>

 

c : very <didn't seem too interested>

3
: so 2d <“I didn't do it.” “You did too.”>
 
The more I look into this, the more I believe that too (meaning also) should not be used with a negative verb or in conjunction with a negative verb.
I will mention some examples from this discussion.
 
from Robert: "It is expensive, and it does not fit, too."  This has two opposing thoughts joined as equals. Better: "It is expensive but it does not fit."
 
from Robert: "It is not expensive, and it fits, too."   Same as above. Join with "but" and leave off "too."
                  This could be good if you view "not expensive" as a positive.  "Inexpensive" might show your intention better.
 
from Robert: "It is not expensive, and it does not fit, too."  This has equal negative thoughts. Better: "It is not expensive and it does not fit, either."
 
from Glenn: 1."Pat didn't go to school. Also Lin didn't go to school." 2."Leslie didn't go to class. Glenn didn't go to class, too."  These two pairs of sentences look almost the same. I can like the first pair but I would like it better if there was a couple of minutes between them. I think this is what really tells us that we are talking about "too" not "also." Even though they are synonyms, they are used differently. The second pair doesn't work at all, further demonstrating the difference between "too" and "also."
 
I'm sorry I got so lengthy here. This is partly to help my own thought and investigation. As I said earlier, I can not find anyone who says this is a rule but I believe it is good to follow for general clarity.
2013/02/13
5:11pm
RobertB
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Disagree with you about the meaning of 'opposing' here.
If you want a shirt to be expensive (because you hate anything cheap) and to fit, too, then the 2 thoughts are not opposing.
 
You can also want the shirt to be expensive and to not fit, too (because your sense of fashion is outlandishly baggy shirts), then again the 2 thoughts are not opposing.
 
That's why I was proposing (2 posts up) that 'too' can make sense based on the underlying intent or desire or emotion, instead of the mechanics of the syntax.
2013/02/13
8:07pm
Dick
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Robert, you are right about opposing thoughts, your intention does make a difference.  I addressed that with this sentence:

from Robert: "It is not expensive, and it fits, too."   Same as above. Join with "but" and leave off "too." This could be good if you view "not expensive" as a positive.  "Inexpensive" might show your intention better.
In this case the conjucted part of the sentence (did I just create a word?) does not contain a negative verb so it would be correct.
 
But your other sentences :
"It is expensive, and it does not fit, too." and "It is not expensive, and it does not fit, too."
have negative verbs immediately before "too" and the intention is irrelevant. "Either" should be used instead of "too."
 
I will say again that this is my opinion. I have found no rules governing how "too" is used but I do feel strongly that it should not be used next to a negative verb.
 
2013/02/14
5:50pm
Robert
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Feel with you.

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