I heard a person saying :

We can misunderstand things wrong.

These are two negations. How can he misunderstand something that is already wrong?

I can't really understand the grammar of this sentence. Why can't we say :

misunderstand things right.

Even the grammar of this sentence is confusing. Shouldn't the sentence be: we can understand things wrong Is it the same as We can misunderstand things wrong ?


  • 4
    If I heard "We can misunderstand things wrong" from a reasonably literate person I'd assume it was said with a bit of humor. "Correct" would either "We can misunderstand things" or "We can understand things incorrectly". ("Wrong" is generally considered to be an adjective, whereas an adverb is called for in the context, and the adverb "wrongly" is rarely used.) "We can misunderstand things correctly" is somewhat nonsensical (when not used in an ironic sense). – Hot Licks Sep 13 '16 at 22:55
  • 2
    ("We can misunderstand things incorrectly" implies that there is a "correct" way to misunderstand something, and an incorrect way, and the incorrect form of misunderstanding occurred. Again, this might be said in a sort of ironic sense to indicate that the misunderstanding being discussed is not the "usual" misunderstanding of this subject, but something different.) – Hot Licks Sep 13 '16 at 22:58
  • 1
    This sentence is fine the way it is. It is grammatically correct. We | can misunderstand | things | wrong = Subject | verb phrase | direct object | objective complement || The objective complement is a noun or adjective that completes the direct object "things." The adjective "wrong" modifies the direct "things" and helps to complete the meaning of the verb "can misunderstand." **Objective Complement**—John E. Warriner. Warriner’s English Grammar and Composition. Fifth Course. Liberty Edition. Orlando, Florida: Harcourt, Brace, and Jovanovich. 1986. 37. – Arch Denton Sep 13 '16 at 23:02
  • Thank you @ArchDenton. It was really confusing at first. Sorry To complete the question is it the same as *we can understand things wrong. – Hani Goc Sep 13 '16 at 23:08
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    The sentence is not "fine the way it is". It sounds like nonsense to native speakers. @ArchDenton, if you want to make statements like this, complete with references, you should make them answers and let people vote on them. – 1006a Sep 14 '16 at 6:52

One would have to work very hard to imagine a context in which

We can misunderstand things wrong

would work.

I don't know where you saw or heard this, but you should plan on saying

We can misunderstand things when we don't listen carefully.

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