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Does it work like a double negative in the sense that it cancels each other out? For example:

  1. I won't study without you.
  2. We can't defeat him without taking a few risks.
  3. Don't give up without a fight.
  4. Don't eat without me.

The sentences can be interpreted as:

  1. I will study if you do it with me.
  2. We can defeat him by taking a few risks.
  3. You can give up only after you tried to fight.
  4. Eat with me.
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    They mostly mean the same, but using the double negative is more emphatic. No. 4 especially, is weak and doesn't really mean the same thing. – Weather Vane Jul 18 at 23:34
  • If they mostly mean the same, does that mean you shouldn't cancel out the two words? And why are no. 4 sentences don't mean the same thing? – Max Jul 19 at 0:01
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    @Max There’s a difference between asking someone to eat with you and telling someone that they can’t eat unless you’re also there. “Eat with me” doesn’t imply that the other person must wait until you’re there before they eat; “don’t eat without me” does. And if the verb collocates with with with a specific meaning, ‘cancelling out’ not without to just with will likely yield a completely different meaning (“don’t start without me” = wait till I’m there before you start doing what we’re talking about; “start with me” = choose me as the first one in what we’re talking about). – Janus Bahs Jacquet Jul 19 at 0:12
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    2 isn’t equivalent. Because you can’t defeat him without taking risks doesn’t mean you can defeat him if you take risks. – Xanne Jul 19 at 3:52
  • 1
    Actually none of the sentence translations reflect the originals. – Xanne Jul 19 at 3:57

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