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0
votes
4answers
104 views

It's not ___, but it's not not ___ either

Are there general modifiers for adjectives that indicate a gray area between the adjective and its negative? E.g., "Plywood isn't wooden, but it isn't not-wooden either. Therefore, plywood is ____ly ...
3
votes
3answers
2k views

Usage and example of the word “litotes”

I've come across the word litotes, which means a rhetorical understatement. However, I’m having trouble understanding how to use it in colloquial English. Could someone please give an example?
2
votes
1answer
923 views

Litotes: Always for Emphasis? Used for Non-committal Hedging? Any Authoritative Source?

My question is about litotes. I’m wondering if it is always for emphasis, or whether it can be a type of non-committal statement or hedging. And, is there an authoritative source that can be cited ...
5
votes
3answers
611 views

Double negation and litotes

A friend of mine who's a native English speaker corrected me the other day. I said something like "it's not something no-one has done before". He told me about the rule that states that double ...
5
votes
6answers
1k views

Euphemism for “non-useful”

I was just about to tell someone how something "wouldn't really be much useful" if they leave it the way it is — which is like a much more polite version of useless, but I just couldn't find the word. ...
-1
votes
5answers
641 views

“Not once he would” vs. “not once would he”

Not being a native speaker and suffering semantic satiation from overthinking this, I'd like to ask this probably overly simple question. Not once would he... uses reversal for negation and ...
3
votes
4answers
434 views

Can you negate a positive without implying the opposite?

I often stumble over the fact that in English, apparently, we imply the reverse when we negate a positive. For example, That wasn't very good. [⇒ That was bad.] That wasn't bad. [⇒ That was ...