adding an electrical receptacle to a switch box

I'm a homeowner - not a pro. But, I've added fixtures, run new wire, installed switches and receptacles, etc. With a lot of topics, I still need "Home improvement for Dummies!"
I want to add a receptacle on the wall right next to an existing switch. The switch has a hot line coming down to it from the power supply of the fixture it controls. It interrupts that hot line, and when turned on, sends current to the fixture. So, all that's in the box is two wires: the hot line coming down, and the line that becomes hot when the switch is on. There's no neutral wire or ground wire. To put a receptacle in, I normally would have to snake a romex cable down to the spot I want, and then install the black and white wires to the correct screws. It would be so much easier if I could use the existing electric source which comes to this switch. I wouldn't have to snake any new wires. I would like to just replace my single switch box, with a double box - screw the switch in and screw the receptacle in. But, can I wire the receptacle from the power that comes from that switch? I've never done a receptacle without a neutral wire going on the silver screw. Can it be done? Is there a legal (code) way? Please help!! Thanks
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m

No. For it to work at all, you'll need a neutral. To do it right, you'll need a ground as well.
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snipped-for-privacy@mindspring.com wrote in

Nope. you'll need a neutral. It would be easier to replace the switch with a combination switch & outlet.
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Romex or BX before ground wires would have one cable with two wires to a switch. Which would mean the light is fed hot. or not. Sounds an awful lot like a bathroom and you need a ground and a gfci out let for that installation.
Time to fish a hot cable for the outlet you want to install.
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Is it a conduit installation? If so it should be fairly easy to fish a neutral wire to this box.
If there is just a single pipe bringing the hot and switched hot from some other junction box then if you find your way back to that box then that is where there will probably be a neutral heading directly to the fixture without taking the detour to the switch. If it's a connection point of several neutrals wire nutted you can just add your white wire that you fish down to your new outlet. If it passes by uninterrupted then you would cut it and wire nut your new wire to the existing two (the two ends created when you cut it). Make sure there is sufficient slack to do this.
If the hot comes in via one conduit and switched hot leaves via another, again you would want to check the prior box where the hot is coming from and bring a neutral in from there. That would be ideal. If in the unlikely event there's no neutral there and somehow they have gotten neutral to the fixture by some other route then you would have to get your neutral at the fixture junction box and run it down the pipe conveying the switched hot from the switch.
Either way as long as the runs aren't too long it should not be too difficult to get the neutral through. With conduit the pipes themselves form the ground connection.
If no conduit then you should just do the 3 wire Romex installation you are used to doing. If you have to fish something through the wall it might as well be 3 wire (hot/neutral/ground) Romex; no point in trying to take advantage of the adjacent existing hot.
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