View Poll Results: Does using a double negative sound uneducated?

Voters
17. This poll is closed
  • Definitely

    8 47.06%
  • It can do

    8 47.06%
  • Definitely Not

    1 5.88%
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Results 21 to 29 of 29
  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by infinikyte
    If applied, then it makes a nonsense of the sentence, which means the opposite. That's the problem with misapplying rules. The double negative = positive may make perfect sense in mathemtaics, but language has its own concept of negation, which is different.
    Agreed!! I think context is very important. Like the sentence "He ain't got no friends." means "He has no friends." pragmatically, but if you interpret word by word the result would make both the sentence struture and its meaning really awkard. Also the reason why we would think "He ain't got no friends." as perfectly normal is we're so used to this type of saying that we won't draw an implicature. Am I right saying that?
    "ain't": non-standard usage OK
    He ain't got friends. ("ain't got" means, hasn't got.)
    Meaning: He hasn't got friends.

    "ain't" + "no": non-standard usage OK
    He ain't got no friends. ("ain't got no" means, "hasn't got any".)
    Meaning: He hasn't got any friends.

    "ain't": standard English Not OK
    "ain't" + "no": standard English Not OK

    :D

  2. #22
    claretNick Guest

    Default Re: Double negatives

    I really do despair of some of the ridiculous logic concerning double negatives in English.

    First: "double negative = positive in maths so it must do in language too"
    NO: -1 + -1 = -2
    i.e. two negatives added together equal a negative result. Only when two negatives are multiplied or when one is subtracted from another do we get a positive. So where's the logic in applying it to English?

    Second: when somone says "I aint got none", no-one really takes this to mean "I have some". Given this is the case, WHAT is the point of claiming it to mean this?

    Third:
    [IP [I' [INFL ai[NEGP]nt [VP t [V' [V got [NP none]]]]]]], where "none" is a direct object.

    Fourth: Numerous languages worldwide employ double negatives as obligatory in many constructions, cf. "no tengo nada" and "je n'ai pas rien" (arguably a triple negative, depending on your analysis of "pas").
    Last edited by claretNick; 01-Feb-2005 at 18:34.

  3. #23
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Double negatives

    I agree that the application of maths is irrelevant to the issue. It has somehow got associated, but number is never mentioned when inconvenient, like trying to explain why 'everybody' is singular. Why addition, of multiplication? It is one of the more spurious arguments used in language.

  4. #24
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    Default Re: Double negatives

    Quote Originally Posted by tdol
    I agree that the application of maths is irrelevant to the issue. It has somehow got associated, but number is never mentioned when inconvenient, like trying to explain why 'everybody' is singular. Why addition, of multiplication? It is one of the more spurious arguments used in language.
    It makes sense. At least in math 1 + 1 = 2 no matter where in the world. Ok, in banking it adds up to 2 1/4. Agreed.
    Where is it written that you have to say what you mean so the other party involved has to understand what you mean? Arch Duke sounds identical to Dear Lord in the local dialect of a bavarian small town. Using The Lords name has been blasphemy and severly punishable by law. "No Arch Duke" is a common phrase. We do not cuss in public. But Oh God no arch duke.. goes a long way. The same for "bag of cement". Contractors seem to be at a loss.

  5. #25
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    Default Re: Double negatives

    Agreed, agreed, agreed, and agreed, and the maths problem should be:

    -1 + 0 = -1, a number twice removed from +1

    Number line: | -2 | -1 | 0 | +1 | +2 |

    EX: I haven't (-1) no tie (0).

  6. #26
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    Default Re: Double negatives

    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea
    Agreed, agreed, agreed, and agreed, and the maths problem should be:

    -1 + 0 = -1, a number twice removed from +1

    Number line: | -2 | -1 | 0 | +1 | +2 |

    EX: I haven't (-1) no tie (0).
    You are taking to a banker.

  7. #27
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    Default Re: Double negatives

    Quote Originally Posted by twostep
    You are taking to a banker.
    I don't understand your response.

  8. #28
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    Default Re: Double negatives

    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea
    I don't understand your response.
    A typo - I am sorry.

    A banker will add 1+1=1.5 and -1 minus -1 = +2 - it is just a matter of adjustments and making books balance. Sort of an industry insider joke.

  9. #29
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    Default Re: Double negatives

    Quote Originally Posted by twostep
    A typo - I am sorry.

    A banker will add 1+1=1.5 and -1 minus -1 = +2 - it is just a matter of adjustments and making books balance. Sort of an industry insider joke.
    I learn new things every day.

    Thanks, twostep.

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