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Real Talk#035 – How to agree like a native speaker

Episode description

Neither? Either? Me too? Agreeing with someone in English can be complicated, especially when you add negatives, positives, and different verb tenses. To help you out, Andrew and Suzanne discuss ways of agreeing like a native speaker.

Fun fact

During this episode, our hosts mention a space movie. Even though we might think Star Wars and other space movies are a recent phenomenon, they have been around for more than 100 years. In fact, A Trip to the Moon by Georges Méliès was made in 1902.

Expressions included in the Study Guide

  • Neither do I
  • So am I
  • To be starving
  • Rapid-fire
  • In forever
  • Don’t be afraid to

Note: The words and expressions that appear in bold text within the transcript are discussed in more detail in the Detailed Explanations section that follows the transcript.

Andrew: Suzanne, so today what we’re going to do is listen to some example conversations. And after listening to them, we’ll go back and talk about all of the expressions we heard that can be used to agree with someone and learn about some of the various ways that we can express agreement.
Suzanne: Andrew, that sounds great. OK, let’s get started by listening to the first example conversation.
Friend 1: Wanna catch a movie this afternoon?
Friend 2: Sure, well, as long as it’s not a horror movie. I don’t like horror movies.
Friend 1: Neither do I.
Friend 2: Actually, I’m dying to see the new space movie that’s out.
Friend 1: Oh, so am I. I saw the trailer and thought it looked amazing.
Andrew: So let’s analyze that conversation. I guess two friends are talking about watching a movie, right? “Do you wanna catch a movie, do you wanna watch a movie this afternoon?” And one of the friends says, “Yeah, but I don’t like horror movies” and the other friend agrees, right? “Me too, me too, I don’t like horror movies,” but the friend doesn’t say me too. What expression did that person use to agree?
Suzanne: Yeah, so they say, Neither do I.”
Andrew: So here the interesting thing with this word, neither, is we can only use it with a negative verb, right?
Suzanne: Right.
Andrew: So in the example, the friend says,“I don’t like horror movies” and you’re thinking,“Oh, me too, I don’t like horror movies,” so don’t is a negative verb. So with a negative verb, we have to use neither, right?“I don’t like horror movies.Neither do I.”
Suzanne: Right.
Andrew: OK.
Suzanne: Yeah, it would be funny if you said, “I love pancakes” and then you said, “Neither do I.” That wouldn’t make sense.
Andrew: It makes no sense.
Suzanne: Because it’s a positive thing, right? You’re showing your positive opinion.
Andrew: Exactly.
Suzanne: All right, so it’s negative. Neither is negative.
Andrew: And then if we go a little bit further in the example conversation, one of the friends says that she’s dying to see the new space movie that’s out. OK? So a sci-fi movie, and her friend agrees with her. He says,So am I, I am also dying to see the new space movie. Me too, I’m dying to see the new space movie.” OK? So here we see an agreement with a positive verb, I am dying to see the new space movie, right? I am. And so the friend, when he is agreeing with her, he says,So am I. So if we have a negative verb and we wanna agree, we have to use the neither construction, and if we have a positive verb and we wanna agree, then we have to use a positive verb to agree in our response.
Suzanne: So is used when we are in agreement with a positive verb or a positive sentiment whereas neither or neither is used when we are in agreement of a negative.
Andrew: Exactly. That’s exactly right. That’s a good point, that we use neither with negative verbs and so with positive verbs. And it’s a little more complicated than this, guys, but we’ll point it out to you in just a moment, some of the different ways we can use these neither and so constructions to show our agreement. So just give us a second and we’ll get to that shortly.
But for now, Suzanne, let’s listen to another conversation example.
Suzanne: OK.
Friend 1: Ugh, I’m starving. Let’s order takeout.
Friend 2: OK. What are you in the mood for?
Friend 1: I was thinking pepperoni pizza and bread sticks.
Friend 2: Hey, so was I.
Friend 1: All right, I’ll go online and make the order now.
Andrew: OK, in this conversation, we heard two friends chatting about ordering some food for dinner. And one of the friends said that she was in the mood for pepperoni pizza and bread sticks.
Suzanne: Yum.
Andrew: And her friend agrees with her, he is also in the mood for this food. He also wants to eat this food. And so, Suzanne, what does he say to agree with this statement, “I was thinking pepperoni pizza and bread sticks?”
Suzanne: He says,“So was I,”right? “So was I.”
Andrew: “So was I.” Yeah.
Suzanne: And that’s interesting, right? The was in the first conversation we heard,“So am I, and that’s present, right? And so this is the past verb, I was thinking. and the other friend, the male friend, is saying,“So was I.”“I was thinking–”“So was I.” So those tenses match.
Andrew: Exactly. And that’s really one of the key points that we want to express here today, is that when you’re agreeing with someone using one of these constructions, starting with neither or so, you have to match the verb and the tense from the original sentence. And, Suzanne, I thought it would be fun to give many quick, rapid-fire examples here, OK? So that our listeners can really get a sense of how this works.
Suzanne: Cool, yeah.
Andrew: I’m going to say just a quick, short sentence and I want you to agree with me, OK?
Suzanne: OK.
Andrew: But, you can’t use me too. This is the one condition, the one rule.
Suzanne: All right.
Andrew: OK? No me too.
Suzanne: Sounds good.
Andrew: Suzanne, I’m so busy.
Suzanne: So am I.
Andrew: And I was afraid of the dark as a kid.
Suzanne: Oh, so was I.
Andrew: I won’t do it.
Suzanne: Neither will I.
Andrew: OK, so this is interesting: I won’t do it, neither will I. OK? So this is a modal verb, right? The negative form of will is won’t. So won’t is negative, that means we have to use neither or neither and, yeah, then plus the positive form, will, right? Neither will I.“I won’t do it.”“Neither will I.”
Suzanne: Right, right, it’s just like don’t, right? Don’t and neither do I.“I don’t like it.” “Neither do I,” right? It’s the same thing. So you’re using the positive verb form, but you’re negating it with neither or neither.
Andrew: OK, let’s continue with our rapid-fire examples.
Suzanne: Awesome.
Andrew: I’d like to visit Morocco one day.
Suzanne: Oh, so would I.
Andrew: OK, so here we’re seeing an example with would and we have to match would with the agreement sentence. Would is in the original statement. So when we’re agreeing with that, we have to use would again.
Suzanne: Right.
Andrew: And here we hear the contracted version, right? “I’d like to visit,” but you can’t use the contraction in the agreement, right? “So I’d” would be very, very weird, you have to use the full version. “So would I.”
Suzanne: I’ve actually heard people say, like,“So’d I,”“So’d I,”“So’d I,” so it’s like so fast that it almost sounds like the ’d is happening after the so. “So’d would I,” you know what I mean?
Andrew: So would I.
Suzanne: Yeah, it’s super fast.
Andrew: Yeah, I think at a natural speed, I would say something like that. “So’d I,”“So’d I,”“So’d I.”
Suzanne: Right, so it almost could kind of take on that, a little bit, contraction feeling.
Andrew: Another example. I haven’t been to a baseball game in forever.
Suzanne: Oh, neither have I, unfortunately.
Andrew: I should visit the dentist soon.
Suzanne: Oh, so should I, unfortunately.
Andrew: OK, very good. Just to summarize this, everyone.
Suzanne: Yeah.
Andrew: You can hear in those rapid-fire examples how the verb and the verb tense has to match the original statement that you want to agree with, right? And for positive sentences, we introduce the agreement with so and with negative sentences, we introduce the statement with neither. And so it’s actually not too complicated, the rules are fairly straightforward, but I’ve noticed when my students first try to learn this, it takes them a little while to get used to it. So don’t be afraid to practice a lot.
Suzanne: Yes, and just making sure that your verbs agree, right? That you, even adding so and neither or neither, you’re not saying, like, I am busy, so do I. You don’t wanna use do, you wanna continue with am, right? So, make sure those verbs agree and you should be fine.
Andrew: I agree with you, Sue.
Well, thank you for listening, everyone. That wraps it up here for us today. We hope that you learned some more dynamic and interesting ways to agree with someone, and it would be great if you try to apply these expressions to your English speaking in the future.
Suzanne: Don’t forget to check out our website, Culips.com, and there you can get the practice materials and the study materials for this episode.
Andrew: We are all over the place on social media. On Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter. You name it, we’re there, and we’d love for you to follow us. So please just search for Culips English Podcast on your favourite social media service and you can do that. And if you’d like to get in touch with us, if you have an idea for a future upcoming episode or question or comment, please send us an email. Our address is contact@Culips.com.
Suzanne: We’ll be back soon with a brand new episode, but until then, take care. Bye.
Andrew: See ya, guys. Bye.

Neither do I (Phrase)

Neither do I is a phrase used to agree with someone who is using a negative verb. You can change the verb tense depending on what the other person says.
Here are a couple more examples with neither do I:

Joe: What do you think about Jackson Pollock’s artwork?
Annie: I’m not sure. I don’t really understand it.
Joe: That’s right! Neither do I.
Annie: My friend actually really likes him. Maybe I should ask her if she could explain the appeal to me.

Ethan: Wow, this is a really good sandwich.
Koko: It is.
Ethan: I never used to like sandwiches with cheese in them, but now I do.
Koko: That’s so funny. Neither did I, but now I find them amazing.

So am I (Phrase)

So am I is said when you agree with someone whose verb construction is positive. Like the phrase neither do I, you can change the verb tense depending on what the other person says.
Here are a couple more examples with so am I:

Andrea: Oh, I can’t wait for this semester to end.
Patrick: Really? Why do you say that?
Andrea: I have plans to go to Europe during the vacation.
Patrick: Oh, so do I! Where are you going?
Andrea: I’m going to Paris and Berlin.
Patrick: Wow, so am I!

Claudia: Do you have any plans for the weekend?
Dale: I have a few ideas, but no concrete plans just yet.
Claudia: Oh? What were you thinking of doing?
Dale: I was thinking maybe I could go to the coast and take some surfing lessons.
Claudia: You don’t say! So was I. I’ve already done a bunch of research. Here, take a look.

To be starving (Verb, informal)

Most people say I’m starving informally. In that sense, to be starving means you are very hungry. However, it literally means that you are dying because you do not have enough food. Using to be starving depends on the context. If you ate a meal 2 hours ago and say you’re still starving, that’s clearly a joke. If you are talking about refugees who are starving in camps, that’s more serious.
Here are a couple more examples with to be starving:

Xander: Are you hungry?
Fred: I’m starving!
Xander: All right. Let’s go to the all-you-can-eat buffet.
Fred: No way.
Xander: Why not? You said you were starving.
Fred: I never go to a buffet when I’m too hungry. I get full immediately.
Xander: That’s strange.

Arnold: Hey, I think I can hear your cat meowing. Is that normal?
Lee: Not really. She almost never meows like that.
Arnold: What could be wrong?
Lee: Oh no! I think I forgot to feed her last night! She must be starving. I gotta go check on her.

Rapid-fire (Adjective)

In this episode, our hosts go through rapid-fire examples. Rapid-fire means something is quick or fast. It’s like firing a gun rapidly.
Here are a couple more examples with rapid-fire:

Franklin: Hey, Padma, I saw your mother at the rink the other day.
Padma: Oh, that’s nice. Did you talk to her?
Franklin: Yeah. She’s so funny! She kept on coming out with rapid-fire jokes. Actually, I couldn’t even hear everything she said because I was laughing so much.
Padma: Yup. That sounds like my mom.

Sandra: Are you ready for the quiz contest tonight?
Penny: For sure.
Sandra: And remember, they changed the rules this year.
Penny: How so?
Sandra: The final round is a rapid-fire round.
Penny: OK. What does that mean, exactly?
Sandra: Instead of having 10 seconds to answer each question, you have 2 seconds.

In forever (Adverb)

In this episode, Andrew says that he hasn’t been to a baseball game in forever. That means in a very long time. Technically, it is grammatically wrong. In forever should mean he has never been to a baseball game. But the way Andrew is speaking, he means that it’s been ages or a long time since he’s been to a game.
Here are a couple more examples with in forever:

Kendra: Let’s go out for a bite.
Sophie: Sure. Any good ideas?
Kendra: There’s a new Turkish restaurant that opened on 2nd avenue.
Sophie: That’s a great suggestion. I haven’t eaten Turkish foodin forever. Let’s go!

Mary: Do you have any plans for your wedding anniversary?
Della: I don’t know yet. My husband always surprises me with something.
Mary: Wow, I’m so envious. My boyfriend hasn’t surprised me with anything in forever.
Della: Maybe you could drop a few hints around the house.
Mary: I have been. It doesn’t work!

Don’t be afraid to (Phrase)

Towards the end of this episode, Andrew says to listeners, “Don’t be afraid to practice a lot.” That is a common way English speakers try to encourage someone else. It doesn’t mean we think people are actually afraid of something. It is lightly pushing people to do something.
Here are a couple more examples with don’t be afraid to:

Marcia: Oh, thanks for babysitting my little boy tonight.
Jinyoung: No problem. He’s so cute and well behaved.
Marcia: You say that, but he can cause a little trouble every now and then.
Jinyoung: Don’t worry about us.
Marcia: Allright. If you have any issues at all, please don’t be afraid to give me a call.
Jinyoung: OK. Have fun!

Mitchell: Want to help me make bread?
Laura: Sure. What do you want me to do?
Mitchell: Well, I’ve already prepared the dough. We can each knead it.
Laura: Knead? What does that mean?
Mitchell: It means to massage the dough until it’s nice and smooth.
Laura: OK. Massage it with what?
Mitchell: With your hands. Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty. You’re making bread!

Quiz

1. How do you agree with a negative in your mother tongue?
2. How often do you agree with your friends? Do you like the same things or do you often disagree?
3. How well do you think you would do in the rapid-fire agreement examples Andrew and Suzanne did?
4. If you’re starving, what’s your go-to food to kill your hunger?
5. In what kind of situation would you say, “Don’t be afraid”?
6. What is something that you haven’t done in forever but you would really like to do again?

Hosts:Andrew Bates and Morag St. Clair
Music:Something Elated by Broke For Free, Step On by Jahzzar
Episode preparation/research: Andrew Bates
Audio editor:Andrew Bates
Transcriptionist:Heather Bates
Study guide writer:Kassy White
English editor:Stephanie MacLean
Business manager:Tsuyoshi Kaneshima
Project manager:Jessica Cox
Image: Shawn Dearn (Unsplash.com)