Date: Sun, 13 Feb 1994 12:39:00 METDST


Subject: Too in initial position

As a foreigner interested in American and British varieties of

English, I have been following the discussion in this list with great

interest for a couple of months.

As periodically an avid observer of American and British usage I

have a couple of times come across the use of "too" (with the meaning

of "also") in initial position in sentences in *written* English.

1 How common is this structure in written English?

2 Does this structure occur both in American and British English?

3 Does it primarily belong to the written language? Or is it mainly

found in spoken English (American, British or other)?

4 If this structure also occurs in spoken English (American,

British or other), is it a regional variety?

5 Do you have any other comments on this usage?

The following is a quote from Irving Wallace's novel "The Prize",

where I first came across this structure, nearly 20 years ago:

[...] Literature, on the other hand was another matter. Almost

everyone could could read, and if you did not read, you could

appreciate the offering of a book through secondary media like the

stage and films and wireless and television. *Too,* [my asterisks]

you could identify with authors, poets, historians, for even if you

did not write books, you wrote diaries and letters and scraps of

messages and telegrams, and if you could not write, you told fictions

to your wife or tall tales to the children at bedtime. And if you

were Count Bertil Jacobsson, why, you wrote your precious Notes.

(Irvin Wallace, The Prize, New English Library edition 1975, p. 217)

I apologize if my questions would be somewhat outside the scope of

this list, or if the answers are too obvious to native speakers.

Jon Grepstad

Information Officer, The National Council for Teacher Education,

P.O.Box 8150 Dep, 0033 Oslo, Norway


Disclaimer: My ignorance is mine alone.