Adding a negative statement to a positive one.

Hello.

I have learned from Oxford Dictionary that we can add a negative statement to a positive one by using "not.....too/as well".
Here is the example provided:

  • You can have a burger, but you can't have fries too.

I further researched and found some more examples from Practical English Usage by Michael Swan.
Here are the examples:

  • You can have an apple, but you can't have an orange too.
  • He drinks too much, but at least he doesn't smoke as well.

I noticed all the examples provided use the same subject in both clauses. So I am wondering if we can use "not....too/as well" with different subjects. Here are some sentences I can think of:

  • A and B were in a car accident. "A died in the accident, but B didn't die too."

  • The father is preparing to go hunting. He turns to his son and says "You can come with me". Then he turns to his daughter and says "I'm sorry, but you can't come too".

  • I love you, but I know you don't love me too.

  • Jo likes tea, but Jim doesn't like it too.

My take is the word "too" means "like the first person/thing does/will/can/etc."
So, "Jo likes tea, but Jim doesn't like it too" would mean "Jo likes tea, but Jim doesn't like it (like Jo does)
This looks reasonable to me. However, I don't often hear people use it. So, I don't know if this is correct, or could it be that this is old usage and not in use today?

Could someone help clarify this in detail?

Answers

  • @meanamide, I don't like your sentences. I could rewrite them as

    • A and B were in a car accident. "A died in the accident, but B didn't die with him/her."
    • The father is preparing to go hunting. He turns to his son and says "You can come with me".
      Then he turns to his daughter and says "I'm sorry, but you can't come with us".

    • I love you, but I know you don't love me back.

    • Jo likes tea, but Jim doesn't like it.

    But I would prefer

    • A and B were in a car accident. "A died in the accident, but B didn't."
    • The father is preparing to go hunting. He turns to his son and says "You can come with me".
      Then he turns to his daughter and says "I'm sorry, but you can't".

    • Jo likes tea, but Jim doesn't.

    My take is the word "too" means "like the first person/thing does/will/can/etc."

    'Like' is much too weak. It means something much stronger such as 'just as the first person does/can/will etc ': die, come, love like

    So a rule of thumb would be that but...not ...too is only used when either the OBJECT or the VERB is different in the two clauses.

  • I accidentally deleted part of my reply. Here's the missing part of the argument

    Your first two sentences

    You can have a burger, but you can't have fries too.
    You can have an apple, but you can't have an orange too.

    each have DIFFERENT OBJECTS in the two clauses

    Your next sentence

    He drinks too much, but at least he doesn't smoke as well.

    has DIFFERENT VERBS in the two clauses

    But your next four sentences have the SAME VERB in the two clauses: die, come, love, like.

    So a rule of thumb would be that but...not ...too is only used when either the OBJECT or the VERB is DIFFERENT in the two clauses.

    On further thought, the rule can be extended to other NOUN PHRASES, including

    • DIFFERENT INDIRECT OBJECTS
      You can give Jo an apple, but you can't give Jim one too.

    • DIFFERENT NOUNS AFTER PREPOSITIONS
      He spoke to the doctor, but he didn't speak to the nurse too.

    But it doesn't work when the NOUN PHRASES are DIFFERENT SUBJECTS.

    It's also possible to use but...not..too with

    • DIFFERENT ADVERBS
      He can do it accurately, but he can't do it quickly too.
  • I think the key to understanding but...not..too is the notion of SCOPE.

    First let's take a clause which can be seen as a whole or analysed in varios ways into different parts.

    Peter gave Jo an apple willingly on Thursday

    There are places in the clause that we can give CONTRASTIVE STRESS

    • ↘PETER gave Jo an apple willingly on Thursday
    • Peter ↘GAVE Jo an apple willingly on Thursday
    • Peter gave ↘JO an apple willingly on Thursday
    • _Peter gave Jo **an ↘APPLE **willingly on Thursday_
    • Peter gave Jo an apple ↘WILLINGLy on Thursday
    • Peter gave Jo an apple willingly on ↘THURSDAY

    Contrastive stress is a sort of unspecific negation, and SPECIFIC NEGATION can be expressed in the same places, using not or n't

    • Peter, not John
    • gave, didn't sell
    • Jo, not Jim
    • an apple, not a banana
    • willingly, not grudgingly
    • an Thursday, not on Friday

    When we add not or n't to the clause, we could be negating any of these

    • Peter didn't give Jo an apple willingly on Thursday. John did
    • Peter didn't give Jo an apple willingly on Thursday. He sold it to him.
    • Peter didn't give Jo an apple willingly on Thursday. He gave Jim one.
    • Peter didn't give Jo an apple willingly on Thursday. He gave him a banana.
    • Peter didn't give Jo an apple willingly on Thursday. He gave it reluctantly.
    • Peter didn't give Jo an apple willingly on Thursday. He gave it him on Friday.

    In SPEECH we could show the SCOPE OF NEGATION by CONTRASTIVE STRESS

    • ↘PETER didn't Jo an apple willingly on Thursday
    • Peter ↘DIDN'T GIVE Jo ... etc

    But in WRITING we can't see where the SCOPE OF NEGATION is located.
    It could be at any of these paces, at more than one place, or over the whole ,clause.

    The same principle of SCOPE applies with words like too

    • Peter gave Jo an apple willingly on Thursday. John did too.
    • Peter gave Jo an apple willingly on Thursday. He sold him one too.
    • Peter gave Jo an apple willingly on Thursday. He gave Jim one too.
    • Peter gave Jo an apple willingly on Thursday. He gave him a banana too.
    • _Peter gave Jo an apple willingly on Thursday. He gave it reluctantly.__
    • Peter gave Jo an apple willingly on Thursday. He gave it him on Friday.

    In my next post, I'll look at the effect of SCOPE in two clauses.

  • So now let's look at the effect of SCOPE in two clauses.

    I'll start with the SCOPE of too

    We add too in a second clause to mean 'just the same as in the first clause'.
    But what is the SCOPE of that 'just the same'?

    A.
    If the second clause differs only in its SUBJECT, then the scope of too is the rest of the clause after the SUBJECT.
    A technical term for this is the PREDICATE.

    • Peter gave Jo an apple willingly on Thursday. John gave Jo an apple willingly on Thursday.
      Because the PREDICATES are the same
      — We can add too
      — We can link them with and, not but
      Peter gave Jo an apple willingly on Thursday, and John gave Jo an apple willingly on Thursday too.

    Add NEGATION to the PREDICATE in both clauses. The SCOPE of NEGATION is the PREDICATE in each clause.

    • Peter didn't give Jo an apple willingly on Thursday. John didn't give Jo an apple willingly on Thursday.
      Because the PREDICATES are the same
      — We can add too (although either sounds better)
      — We can link them with and, not but
      Peter didn't give Jo an apple willingly on Thursday, and John didn't give Jo an apple willingly on Thursday too (or either).

    But if only one of the clauses is negative, then the PREDICATES are different

    • Peter gave Jo an apple willingly on Thursday. John didn't give Jo an apple willingly on Thursday.
    • Peter didn't give Jo an apple willingly on Thursday. John gave Jo an apple willingly on Thursday.
      Because the PREDICATES are different
      — We can't add too
      — We can link them with but, not and
      Peter gave Jo an apple willingly on Thursday, but John didn't give Jo an apple willingly on Thursday.
      Peter didn't give Jo an apple willingly on Thursday, but John gave Jo an apple willingly on Thursday.

    These are all examples of what is grammatically possible.
    It would be stylistically better to shorten the second clause:

    • , and John did too
    • , and John didn't too (or better , and John didn't either)
    • , but John didn't
    • , but John did

    B.
    If the second clause differs only in the VERB, then the scope of too is the rest of the PREDICATE after the VERB.
    A technical term for this is COMPLEMENTATION.

    If the SCOPE of too is the COMPLEMENTATION, not the SUBJECT, then it doesn't matter whether the SUBJECTS in the two clauses are the same or different.

    • Peter (or John) gave Jo an apple willingly on Thursday. Peter (or John) sold Jo an apple willingly on Thursday.
      Because the COMPLEMENTATIONS are the same,
      — We can add too (although either sounds better)
      — We can link them with and, not but
      Peter (or John) gave Jo an apple willingly on Thursday, and he sold Jo an apple willingly on Thursday too.

    Add NEGATION to the PREDICATES in both clauses. The SCOPE of NEGATION is the COMPLEMENTATION in each clause.

    • Peter (or John) didn't give Jo an apple willingly on Thursday. Peter (or John) didn't sell Jo an apple willingly on Thursday.
      Because the COMPLEMENTATIONS are the same,
      — We can add too (although either sounds better)
      — We can link them with and, not but
      Peter didn't give Jo an apple willingly on Thursday, and he didn't sell him one willingly on Thursday too (or either).

    But if only one of the PREDICATES is negative, then the COMPLEMENTATIONS are different

    • Peter (or John) gave Jo an apple willingly on Thursday. Peter (or John) didn't sell Jo an apple willingly on Thursday.
    • Peter (or John) didn't give Jo an apple willingly on Thursday. Peter (or John) sold Jo an apple willingly on Thursday.
      Because the PREDICATES are different
      — We can't add too
      — We can link them with but, not and
      Peter (or John) gave Jo an apple willingly on Thursday, but he didn't sell Jo an apple willingly on Thursday.
      Peter (or John) didn't give Jo an apple willingly on Thursday, but he sold Jo an apple willingly on Thursday.

    I'll discuss different SCOPES in my next posting.

  • SORRY!

    It's a tricky argument, and I got it wrong in my last posting.

    I think the discussion still stands for DIFFERENT SUBJECTS in the two clauses.
    But I need to rewrite the discussion of DIFFERENT VERBS. The first part is OK, I think.

    B.
    If the second clause differs only in the VERB, then the scope of too is the rest of the PREDICATE after the VERB.
    A technical term for this is COMPLEMENTATION.

    If the SCOPE of too is the COMPLEMENTATION, not the SUBJECT, then it doesn't matter whether the SUBJECTS in the two clauses are the same or different.

    • Peter (or John) gave Jo an apple willingly on Thursday. Peter (or John) sold Jo an apple willingly on Thursday.
      Because the COMPLEMENTATIONS are the same,
      — We can add too
      — We can link them with and, not but

    • Peter (or John) gave Jo an apple willingly on Thursday, and he sold Jo an apple willingly on Thursday too.

    But the rest of the argument is wrong. My mistake was

    Add NEGATION to the PREDICATES in both clauses. The SCOPE of NEGATION is the COMPLEMENTATION in each clause.

    But this isn't so. The VERB is NEGATIVE but the COMPLEMENTATION is the same in both clauses:
    Jo an apple willingly on Thursday

    So the next part of the argument is OK, I think

    • Peter (or John) didn't give Jo an apple willingly on Thursday. Peter (or John) didn't sell Jo an apple willingly on Thursday.
      Because the COMPLEMENTATIONS are the same,
      — We can add too (although either sounds better)
      — We can link them with and, not but
      Peter didn't give Jo an apple willingly on Thursday, and he didn't sell him one willingly on Thursday too (or either).

    But the next part of my argument was wrong:

    But if only one of the PREDICATES is negative, then the COMPLEMENTATIONS are different

    In fact the COMPLEMENTATION is

    Jo an apple willingly on Thursday

    This is the same even when only one of the PREDICATES is negative

    However, it makes a difference which of the two clauses is negative

    • Peter (or John) gave Jo an apple willingly on Thursday. Peter (or John) didn't sell Jo an apple willingly on Thursday.

      Because the COMPLEMENTATIONS are the same and the first clause is positive
      — We can add too
      Because the PREDICATES are different,
      — We can link them with but, not and
      Peter (or John) gave Jo an apple willingly on Thursday, but he didn't sell Jo an apple willingly on Thursday too.

    • Peter (or John) didn't give Jo an apple willingly on Thursday. Peter (or John) sold Jo an apple willingly on Thursday.
      Because the COMPLEMENTATIONS are the same but the first clause is negative
      — We can't add too
      Because the PREDICATES are different,
      — We can link them with but, not and
      Peter (or John) didn't give Jo an apple willingly on Thursday, but he sold Jo an apple willingly on Thursday.

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