Is the following sentence from the TV series American Horror Story correct, formal grammar?

We are powerful. Even though none of you have yet to believe it.

In my understanding, it would be "Even though none of you have not yet believed it", which is a double negative.

I have never seen "have yet to" used in negatives.

  • 1
    It's ungrammatical, like *They don't remain to be convinced. Nov 18 '13 at 15:05

We are powerful, even though none of you have yet to believe it.

Would be a perfectly sensible sentence for dialogue. The first clause states something, "we are powerful" and the second clause modifies that first one, by referring to why that clause may not be already evident.

That second clause "even though none of you have yet to believe it" is reasonable okay as a clause, though incomplete as a sentence.

It is a logically a double negative, and should strictly be "even though all of you have yet to believe it" or "even though none of you believe it yet". It's a reasonable double-negative in dialogue though; it's the sort of thing people would really say, and we know what they mean.

Even as given:

We are powerful. Even though none of you have yet to believe it.

It's reasonable enough, but the second clause being given as a separate (incomplete) sentence is reasonable as a bit of rhetorical license of making the clause stand more on its own and be considered more fully separate from the first. Or it could show it occurring to the speaking character after they'd already said the first bit.

So while you would normally want to avoid such an incomplete sentence in straight prose, you may deliberately use one in dialogue - your characters don't have to always speak grammatically perfect English - or as rhetorical license.

  • Right, but strictly speaking, double negative like this is not grammatical.
    – Vivarion
    Nov 18 '13 at 10:25
  • 1
    Yes, but strictly speaking, not everybody is strictly speaking. Good dialogue can reflect that without bending so far as to be hard to understand. It's also worth noting that the degree to which English grammar tolerates or disallows double-negatives depends on the form of English, both dialect and register.
    – Jon Hanna
    Nov 18 '13 at 10:27
  • Thanks. Being a non native speaker, I'm trying to learn proper English and thus I need to stick to some rules :)
    – Vivarion
    Nov 18 '13 at 10:28
  • Yes, it's not the sort of thing to copy directly, but you should note that no dialogue is. Or at least not yet, too strict adherence to the rules can make some who have English as a second language sound stilted and awkward, but ideally one should still learn them before bending them. You'd also want to bend them in a way appropriate to the time and place you are in, rather than being at a dinner party in Edinburgh or a Hockey game in Vancouver, and sounding like a New Jersey gangster because you watch the Sopranos!
    – Jon Hanna
    Nov 18 '13 at 10:36
  • I disagree that this is a reasonable double negative. It would definitely have thrown me if I'd heard it spoken. Of course I would have understood what was meant from context, but it is noticeably jarring as a double negative. It also seems strange to have something as colloquial as a double negative in a phrase with something as formal as ‘have yet to’. Nov 18 '13 at 11:36

The sentences starting with Even as you have written them are not complete and not correct.

The first does not work; the second still less.

If I look for this on the net, all results come from a sig on tumblr.

One cannot use none with yet as in the example and make sense. You can use yet to state a negative:

We are powerful, even though all (some) of you have yet to believe it.

That works because yet in this case means even though some of you still do not believe it or even though some of you have not yet come to this conclusion

  • Exactly that is what I mean but in the TV they said it that way. That is why I ask. none of you have yet = none of you have not yet..double negative
    – Vivarion
    Nov 18 '13 at 9:37
  • See my update. I believe the sentences are wrong
    – mplungjan
    Nov 18 '13 at 9:38

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