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Q&A

Why "me too" and not "I too"?

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I've been studying German lately, and came across something that sparked my curiosity: The way to say "me too" in German is "ich auch" - that is, "I too". A shallow glance at other Germanic languages gives me the impression that this formation is common in those. (Dutch: "Ik ook", Swedish: "Jag också", both similarly using the nominative case)

This made me wonder about the English expression. Saying "I too" would seem more logical when "I" is the subject - as it is in most cases. For example, if someone says, "I went to the mall yesterday", then replying "I too have gone" would imply that "I too" is the "correct" shortened response. Instead, we use "me too".

What is there a reason for this divergence?

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1 answer

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English tends to use accusative pronouns whenever they aren't clearly the subject of a sentence or clause, even when classical grammatical rules call for the nominative. Another example: "Who's there?" "It's me." Classical grammar says it should be "It is I," but that sounds positively Shakespearean.

It's hard to say why these shifts happen. The vestigial nature of the case system in English may have something to do with it. There's a constant tension between what follows the rules and what sounds right in ordinary speech. There are even cases where people misapply the rules and commit case errors in order to sound high-class, e.g., "between you and I."

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