The so construction is used to agree with a positive statement and the nor or neither construction is used to agree with a negative statement. It can be used with all tense forms and all modal verbs, so you need to be careful to select the right auxiliary verb or modal. Consider the following:


A question posed to a student to the BBC (learning English)


If my friend says to me:

I hardly know this author

and if I hardly know her, should I answer:

Neither do I OR So do I?

Are both answers possible here?




Only Neither do I or Nor do I is possible here, . This is because hardly has a negative meaning. It means almost not at all. So if you wish to agree with what is being said, you will also need a negative adverb and use neither or nor in response. Note that scarcely has the same negative meaning as hardly and that either of them can be used here. Compare the following:

  • I can hardly / scarcely believe you're twenty years old now. ~ Nor / Neither can I!
  • They're hardly / scarcely ever at home.
    ~ Neither / Nor are we!
  • He's dead now, but I hardly / scarcely knew him.
    ~ Neither / Nor did I.

Note that neither/nor always come at the beginning of the response clause and that inversion of subject and verb are needed with the tense form agreeing with that of the first clause.