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Thread: double negative

  1. #1
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    Default double negative

    Are both of the following sentences acceptable?
    1.The importance of environmental protection can't be exaggerated too
    much.
    The importance of environmental protection can't be overexaggerated.
    2. You can never be too careful in choosing friends.
    You can never choose friends too carefully.

  2. #2
    Soup's Avatar
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    Default Re: double negative

    1a. The importance of environmental protection can't be exaggerated too much.
    => meaning, can be exaggerated, but not too much.

    1b. The importance of environmental protection can't be overexaggerated.
    => meaning, can't be exaggerate.


    2a. You can never be too careful in choosing friends.
    => meaning, being overly careful is the norm.

    2b. You can never choose friends too carefully.
    => two meanings: 1) same as 2a, and 2) don't choose friends carefully.

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    Default Re: double negative

    Quote Originally Posted by Soup View Post
    1a. The importance of environmental protection can't be exaggerated too much.
    => meaning, can be exaggerated, but not too much.

    1b. The importance of environmental protection can't be overexaggerated.
    => meaning, can't be exaggerated.


    2a. You can never be too careful in choosing friends.
    => meaning, being overly careful is the norm.

    2b. You can never choose friends too carefully.
    => two meanings: 1) same as 2a, and 2) don't choose friends carefully.
    Hi Soup

    I`ve made a slight spelling correction, if you don`t mind.

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    Default Re: double negative

    Thanks.

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    Default Re: double negative

    Quote Originally Posted by Soup View Post
    Thanks.
    You are most welcome.

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    Default Re: double negative

    Quote Originally Posted by Soup View Post
    1a. The importance of environmental protection can't be exaggerated too much.
    => meaning, can be exaggerated, but not too much.

    1b. The importance of environmental protection can't be overexaggerated.
    => meaning, can't be exaggerate.


    2a. You can never be too careful in choosing friends.
    => meaning, being overly careful is the norm.

    2b. You can never choose friends too carefully.
    => two meanings: 1) same as 2a, and 2) don't choose friends carefully.
    Dear Soup,

    Thank you for your reply. Yet, I still have doubts about the meaning of 1b(The importance of environmental protection can not be overexaggerated.) I think this sentence is the same as "Environemtnal protection is extremely important."

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    Default Re: double negative

    Quote Originally Posted by sjc55 View Post
    Dear Soup,

    Thank you for your reply. Yet, I still have doubts about the meaning of 1b(The importance of environmental protection can not be overexaggerated.) I think this sentence is the same as "Environemtnal protection is extremely important."
    Ah, you're thinking of its synonym to overemphasize completely; to go beyond anticipated exaggeration, which is the wrong meaning. What you want is the phrase cannot be (over) emphasized enough ~ extremely important.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: double negative

    Quote Originally Posted by sjc55 View Post
    2. You can never be too careful in choosing friends.
    Meaning:
    You should choose your friends carefully.
    ~R

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