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I'm reading a Webnovel and in this particular chapter, there is this guy who is on a high position and everyone around him(not including those who have a higher authority and status) is bending over to his authority and status.

And someone commented about if it ever crossed these kind of people's minds about everyone not existing simply to bend over for them or if their ego is big enough to bend reality itself.

So I replied to that, pointing out that everyone the guy has met who have a lower authority and status than him have been bending over to his whims and demands thus far therefore he isn't in the wrong to think that a newcomer won't do the same.

Here is what I wrote:

  • People of lower status than him have been bending over to his whims thus far so logically speaking he isn't in the wrong to think that ZY will be any different.

Note: ZY is an acronym for the newcomer's full name.

The first time I wrote my comment, I thought nothing of it but I have a habit of re-reading whatever I write online because English is my 3rd language and I guess I got tired of having to get whatever I say/write discredited simply because my English skill isn't up to par.

Anyways is what I wrote correct in this context? given what I wanted to convey.

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    Compare: "He has no reason to think that ZY will be any different"; "He isn't in the wrong (i.e., he's right; he has a reason) to think that ZY will be any different." I have no issue with your use of "any different"; instead, I think the phrasing suggests the opposite of what you mean. If I kept your phrasing but tweaked it to fit what I think you meant, I'd write: "he isn't in the wrong to think that ZY won't be any different." Does that make sense? – TaliesinMerlin Oct 21 at 15:34
  • Be any different is a predicate containing a negative polarity term (any) as a quantifier (cf be very/a little/a lot/greatly/a bit different. The NPI is licensed by the negative in the higher clause: he isn't in the wrong to think that ZY will be any different. The fact that wrong is also negative and contradicts isn't is confusing, but once a clause has a negative field, it can license NPIs, whether they make sense or not. Negation is used for emphasis more often than not. – John Lawler Oct 21 at 17:38
  • @JohnLawler An honest question If I may? I don't understand how "he isn't(is not) in the wrong" is contradictory and confusing? I've seen this phrase used multiple times. Mostly, in the sense to justify that someone's actions isn't necessarily right but in the circumstances given they are not necessarily wrong either if this makes sense. In this context, although he is not right to assume people will just bend over to his every whim and demand but thus far everyone has been doing so, so logically speaking he is not wrong to think that a new comer will react differently. – Aljon Oct 22 at 8:53
  • He isn't in the wrong means He's right. The negatives cancel out; that's the contradiction I was speaking of. It's normal, if complex; the Latin rule is Duplex negatio confirmat 'Double negation confirms'. This is not always true, but in this case it is. – John Lawler Oct 22 at 16:46
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I think you should clarify things using behave instead of be: "(...) he isn't in the wrong to think that ZY will behave any different."

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  • Switching to behave is a good idea. Then I'd go with behave differently. Also, bending over might be more sexual than intended. Because it is. – Yosef Baskin Oct 21 at 15:35
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In a comment John Lawler wrote:

Be any different is a predicate containing a negative polarity term (any) as a quantifier (cf be very/a little/a lot/greatly/a bit different. The NPI is licensed by the negative in the higher clause: he isn't in the wrong to think that ZY will be any different. The fact that wrong is also negative and contradicts isn't is confusing, but once a clause has a negative field, it can license NPIs, whether they make sense or not. Negation is used for emphasis more often than not.

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