Questions tagged [double-negation]

For questions about statements containing more than one negative element, usually in a way to negate the predicate more than once.

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What are "double negatives" in English, and are they ever correct?

This is a followup to a comment exchange and particularly this comment over on ELL. One user contends that a double negative is always wrong in standard English. This user also maintains that: First, ...
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1 vote
2 answers
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Is using "abysmal" and "lack" in this sentence ambiguous?

I had recently come across a sentence that said, The lack of representation for LGBTQ people and women of color is abysmal. Page 241 of Broken Horses, by Brandi Carlile. Considering that the rest of ...
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3 votes
1 answer
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Is the sentence below ambiguous? [duplicate]

The sentence is: “X is not legal in all contexts.” Couldn’t the logical negation be interpreted as applied to either “legal” or “legal in all contexts”, the former would result in “X is illegal in all ...
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4 answers
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What is the difference between "The army didn't have any" and "didn't have no" in "It makes a fellow proud to be a soldier"?

In his intro to the song "It makes a fellow proud to be a soldier," Tom Lehrer says: The army didn't have any, excuse me, didn't have no official song. And after that the audience laughs. ...
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Negating prefixes in implied repetition of adjective

Although his argument is incorrect, his grammar is [not]. Here, my intuition says we need the "not" to form the double negative "not incorrect". But a person I'm arguing with ...
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Does a double negative itself convey a positive meaning?

Does a double negative itself convey a positive meaning on its own? Or do we just infer a positive meaning by a double negative?
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Is there a right and wrong way to use double negatives? [closed]

Somewhat related to How can double negatives "has a respectable history as a rhetorical device for emphasis" when they're harder to understand? I am noticing that that there is an ...
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Can the words "right" and "wrong" be considered to be grammatical affirmatives and negatives? [closed]

Can the words "right" and "wrong" be considered to be grammatical affirmatives and negatives? Consider the sentence "I am not wrong." This can be simplified to "I am ...
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What does "not XXX in the sense that YYY does not ZZZ" mean?

This could be a weird example, but consider the following statement: "She is not cute in the sense of being a cat." Which of the following should this sentence be understood as? "...
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1 vote
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Is "Not X is Not Required" an example of a double negative?

Well, obviously there are two negatives in the sentence. But, at least I am of the opinion that it can't be contracted into a positive- "Not X is Not Required" means a very different thing ...
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Why does Steven Pinker say that “can’t” + “any” is just as much of a double-negative as “can’t” + “no” is in “I can’t get no/any satisfaction”?

In reference to "I can't get no satisfaction" vs "I can't get any satisfaction", Steven Pinker said (at 6:13): But "can't" and "any" is just as much of a ...
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2 votes
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On Passage, Objections to the Contrary Notwithstanding

What does the following mean? There seem to be a lot of double negatives in here, so I'd like to understand this better. On passage, objections of the president to the contrary notwithstanding This ...
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Why do some double negatives oppose with the natural or instinctive meaning which apparently occurs from the context of sentence they're applied in? [closed]

There would be more double-negatives like these, but I specifically want to mention "This couldn't be further/farther from the truth". When this phrase is used, it apparently incites the ...
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1 vote
2 answers
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not followed by nobody (double negation) [duplicate]

I wrote this question in a funny and entertaining way, if you want to go straight to the question go to the end. Last day I was in a bar with some friends and they were talking about soccer (for which ...
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1 answer
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Older or younger than 3 months old? [closed]

The below is an excerpt of a document requirement for a UK visa: a bank statement dated no more than three months earlier than the date of application showing transactions relating to [...] We're ...
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A synonym for "don't omit" not including a negativiser

I have a technical document with a lot of sentences like "Use X." or "Don't use Y." Instead of "Don't use ..." I sometimes use "Omit ...". Whether to choose the ...
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I will call somebody else, not neither him nor you

I have a sentence I will call neither you nor him I guess it means I won't call neither you nor him Out of it it's not clear whether I will call anyone at all but I want to say that I will call but ...
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1 answer
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Use of double negatives [duplicate]

What's up. I wanna ask about the sentence: 'I don't think I will know no one at the party' Which means that I will actually know someone. The question is, is this correct? I know I should not use ...
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Why is "I didn't mean to, not miss it" incorrect?

I know someone who initially typed the phrase, "I didn't mean to not miss it." After I pointed out that this had a double negative, he corrected this to "I didn't mean to, not miss it" I believe this ...
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1 answer
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What does "I can't never" mean?

What does "I can't never" mean? For example: "We can't never come here." Please, explain in other words.
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3 votes
1 answer
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To say that something is "never indistinguishable"

Is to say that something is "never indistinguishable" poor grammar? We rarely, if ever, see such phraseology in English, but my understanding is that it is grammatically valid, even if it would be ...
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"It has not been unchanged." Is that a valid sentence? [duplicate]

Do I have to understand the sentence: It has not been unchanged .. as if the related subject actually changed, or whether there has been no change at all? In short, is this a double negative?
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1 answer
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Double negative as intensifier with neither

I'm aware that a double negative like in I didn't do nothing that day. to emphasize that you really didn't do anything that day is not standard English. Yet, I thought it's quite commonly used, ...
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1 vote
2 answers
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Double Negative - How to read?

There is no chance the email you recieved isn't a scam. How to interpret this sentence? If I attempt to remove the double negative, it doesn’t make much sense to me at all. There is a chance the ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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Not not round enough balls to alter the data

In the following sentence, are the "not's" found in the proper place with correct grammar? If not, what's the best way to format this sentence? The balls were not, not round enough to alter the ...
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10 votes
4 answers
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Is "prohibition against," a double negative?

"Prohibition against stealing," was the phrase that was being used. I get what the speaker was trying to say, but I'm just wondering if it is grammatically correct or if it could have been worded ...
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3 votes
2 answers
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History of Neither Nor - Negative Meaning with Negative Verb Structure

I know that neither–nor yields a negative meaning if used in a sentence that has a positive verb structure. That is, when we say: Neither George nor James goes to school. we mean: George does ...
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2 votes
1 answer
126 views

How do I use proper grammar in the negation of "have not" for the following sentence translation?

I'm translating a DIALOUGE sentence from Japanese to English, and I'm having issues with keeping the negation of the verb "have not" in my translation while following proper English grammar, or ...
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double negative - no one ~ who hadn't also

No one would want to be famous who hadn't also, somewhere in the past, been made to feel extremely insignificant. Is the sentence a double negative? Is "who" a relative pronoun which modifies "one"? ...
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3 votes
2 answers
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Double negative in "...the most dangerous threat was not not getting..."

I created this sentence: For your ancestors, the most dangerous threat to survival was not not getting the social vibe of your group. I am confused because, as grammar websites say, double ...
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-1 votes
1 answer
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"At least + NOT " ambiguity [closed]

this sentences : "The patient knows in advance what are the possible outcomes; without that knowledge quality cannot be measured (AT LEAST NOT from the patient perspective)." is that mean that i can ...
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-1 votes
1 answer
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Which of the following two (apparently)possible meanings is the right one? [closed]

Here's a conversation I had: A:"don't strain your brain" B:"can't happen when I'm talking to you" Does this imply that it's impossible for A to strain their brain while talking to B, or, Is it that it'...
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1 vote
1 answer
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Meaning of "But no Source never made me not buy an album when they say it was wack"

I cannot get the real meaning of this AAVE sentence from rapper Kon Artis, a song lyric transcribed at Genius: But no Source never made me not buy an album when they say it was wack Source is the ...
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1 vote
2 answers
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"Don't let no one" vs. "don't let nobody" [closed]

Does the phrase "don't let no one touch it" fall under the double-negative category? What would be the difference if no one was replaced with nobody?
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1 vote
1 answer
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Negative question [duplicate]

Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair (Mother to Son", by Langston Hughes) As per my knowledge we can't use Two Negative words in a clause or a sentence .I did research But could find anything . ...
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0 votes
1 answer
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Is this a case of double negatives?

She was a little, brown, thin, almost skinny, woman, with big, rolling, violet-blue eyes, and the sweetest manners in the world. You had only to mention her name at afternoon teas for every woman in ...
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-1 votes
3 answers
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“Never don't give up” [closed]

I'm a bit confused of this phrase "Never Don't Give up". What does it actually mean? Never give up or just give up @.@ Please advise. I see it in the tattoo picture. Is it supposed to ...
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2 votes
2 answers
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Negative questions: “No, I don’t” or "Yes, I don't"? [duplicate]

I’m an English teacher in Japan. Recently I ran into quite a conundrum, which I’m sure many others have struggled with. I was talking to one of my students in the presence of my boss and something my ...
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0 votes
1 answer
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Double negation: not, neither - nor in a sentence

Can you please explain why these sentence are correct: He hadn’t done any homework, neither had he brought any of his books to class. We didn’t get to see the castle, nor did we see the cathedral. ...
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1 vote
3 answers
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Double negative complicated with the use of 'hard'

What does the author mean by this: 'It is hard not to conclude there is none...' Here is the whole context: What is the cure? It is hard not to conclude there is none: some problems have no ...
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Is using two negatives in one sentence ever okay? [closed]

If I were to say: I can't and I won't. or something similar, is that a double negative?
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7 votes
2 answers
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"Can't help but think": origin and current meaning

The regular English-language column in this week's Spectator (by one 'Dot Wordsworth') examines the opaque but not uncommon construction "I can't help but be reminded of the relationship...", which ...
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0 votes
2 answers
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don't and don't in the same sentence? What was the authors point?

Reading an article, I came across this sentence which I can't seem to make sense of. The author uses a double negative but I'm not sure what the point is. Could this just be poor grammar? Here is ...
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0 votes
1 answer
332 views

No two things/thing? [closed]

Which one is correct? No two speaker speaks the same language. No two speakers speak the same language.
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3 votes
3 answers
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"I leaked nothing to nobody." - SAE? AAVE? Deliberate double negative?

"I leaked nothing to nobody" (around 3:42 in the video) Is the sentence above from Susan Rice grammatically correct in standard American English (SAE)? Seems like it should be: I leaked nothing ...
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0 votes
1 answer
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Is this correct: "I didn't skip gym for no reason"

I was having a conversation with my coworkers, and we just can't seem to agree on what is the grammatically correct way to say this. In the context of the conversation, he was trying to express that ...
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4 votes
1 answer
941 views

"There is no man who has never looked upon a woman WITH/WITHOUT desire"

In Atticus's closing speech he argues: “Which, gentlemen, we know is in itself a lie as black as Tom Robinson’s skin, a lie I do not have to point out to you. You know the truth, and the truth is ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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Is "The trick is to not try to tell yourself not to think about the bad things..." a double-negative used correctly?

An answer to the stackexchange question I've just been bitten by a rattlesnake; how, exactly, do I “keep calm”? includes the following advice: The trick is to not try to tell yourself not to think ...
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-1 votes
1 answer
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About double negative sentences problem [duplicate]

'This is a not uncommon mistake.' 'This is not an uncommon mistake.' Are those sentences above both means 'This is somewhat common mistake.' ? or could they have different meanings?
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0 votes
4 answers
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Correct interpretation of a "double-negative" in American Pop Culture (i.e. "I ain't afraid of no ghost!") [duplicate]

In the 2016 film Ghostbusters Dan Aykroyd states: I ain't afraid of no ghost! To which a lady who looks like Jennifer Anniston replies: That's a double negative! That means you ARE afraid of ...
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