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  1. #1
    Anonymous Guest

    Default Double Negatives

    Hello my question is Are all double negatives incorrect? I have a few example that I think may be acceptable. Here's a few..."This is not the one you didn't know about." or "John is not amoung the people not invited to the party". Are these incorrect usage of grammar? Please advise. Thanks! 8)

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    Default Re: Double Negatives

    Quote Originally Posted by Pakarage
    Hello my question is Are all double negatives incorrect? I have a few example that I think may be acceptable. Here's a few..."This is not the one you didn't know about." or "John is not amoung the people not invited to the party". Are these incorrect usage of grammar? Please advise. Thanks! 8)
    In English two negatives make a positive, unlike Spanish for example.

    "This is not the one you didn't know about." means "This is the one you know about".

    "John is not amoung the people not invited to the party" means "John is among the people invited to the party".

    Iain

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    RonBee's Avatar
    RonBee is offline Moderator
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    Are all double negatives incorrect? Well, that depends, I suppose, on who you ask. :wink:

    Certainly, in speech the double negative is commonly used for emphasis. I recommend against using them in writing, because you use more words than necessary.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dduck
    In English two negatives make a positive, unlike Spanish for example.
    Teachers have said about English for years that two negatives make a positive, but neither English or Spanish is mathematics. Two negatives do not cancel each other out. Using two negatives in a sentence does make for a rather awkward sentences sometimes tho.

    :)

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    Quote Originally Posted by RonBee
    Are all double negatives incorrect? Well, that depends, I suppose, on who you ask. :wink:

    Certainly, in speech the double negative is commonly used for emphasis. I recommend against using them in writing, because you use more words than necessary.
    To me, people who use double negatives in English sound uneducated. Perhaps, you could create a poll for this one :)

    Iain

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    Quote Originally Posted by RonBee
    Are all double negatives incorrect? Well, that depends, I suppose, on who you ask. :wink:

    Certainly, in speech the double negative is commonly used for emphasis. I recommend against using them in writing, because you use more words than necessary.
    Quote Originally Posted by dduck
    To me, people who use double negatives in English sound uneducated.
    I don't use them, and I admit to a certain bias against them.

    Quote Originally Posted by dduck
    Perhaps, you could create a poll for this one :)
    TDOL went and did it.

    :wink:

  7. #7
    not correctin' no mistake Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pakarage
    Hello my question is Are all double negatives incorrect? I have a few example that I think may be acceptable. Here's a few..."This is not the one you didn't know about." or "John is not amoung the people not invited to the party". Are these incorrect usage of grammar? Please advise. Thanks! 8)

    Pakarage, Pakarage, where, oh where, shall we begin? From reading your post, double negatives seem to be the least of your grammatical travails. To begin, let us re-phrase your post in correct, standard English (corrections noted in bold type):

    Hello, my question is, "Are all double negatives incorrect?" I have a few examples that I think may be grammatically acceptable. Here are the examples: "This is not the one that you didn't know about." or "John is not among the people not invited to the party". Are these usages correct grammar? Please advise. Thanks!

    Now that we have straightened that out, let us address the root of your question. The nature of your query, we feel, is not found in these particular examples, but rather in the very use of two negative words in adjacent clauses, phrases, and/or around a singular verb. The goal of speech, whether written or aural, should be clarity, brevity, emphasis, and expression of intent.

    Your first example is best stated as, "This is the one you know about." No negative is needed to express your intent, and usage of negative words does not add to the meaning of the sentence. Therefore, grammar dictates that you do not use two negative clauses together.

    Your second example is different from the first in that usage of the two negative words can affect the meaning of the expression. If your intent is to state that John is among the people invited to the party, then your sentence as written is incorrect. If, however, your intent is to emphasize that John was invited to the party, but not a highly regarded guest, then you may phrase your sentence with the two negative words. [As a cautionary note, this use of the language works best in aural communication when the tone of the voice can be measured to clarify the sarcastic intent.]

    Remember, often the uneducated will miss the nuances of the language -- they will not notice the double negative, the coupling of negative phrases, or the expression of sarcasm. If your goal is clear, precise expression of the English language, as used by someone with education and a desire for clear communication, then you should aim for clarity over verbosity.

    Thank you for posting your question, and please do not hesitate to further contribute to this enlightening forum for the betterment of our common tongue.

    8)

  8. #8
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Hi, there, you might not be needing no name, nor no introduction, but I would like to welcome you to the forum. Nice to meet you.

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    He certainly waded right in. That one should count for three postings.

    :wink:

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    When I think of double negative it is constructions like "I don't never do that" that I have in mind.

    :)

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