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  1. Soup's Avatar
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    #51

    re: Is this right?

    Quote Originally Posted by stuartnz View Post
    Many who insist that "double negative = positive" argue that it is the "logical" meaning, and point to its validity in mathematics as "proof" that it must be applied in language too.
    As in this example, I couldn't fail to disagree less.

  2. RonBee's Avatar
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    #52

    re: Is this right?

    Quote Originally Posted by stuartnz View Post
    Yes, and that seems to lie at the crux of the matter for those who wax wroth at double negatives in the English language. It is that way in maths, but that doesn't mean it must be that way in language.
    Exactly! Math is math and language is language.

    Quote Originally Posted by stuartnz View Post
    Many who insist that "double negative = positive" argue that it is the "logical" meaning, and point to its validity in mathematics as "proof" that it must be applied in language too.
    But they are wrong.

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    #53

    re: Is this right?

    Quote Originally Posted by stuartnz View Post
    Yes, and that seems to lie at the crux of the matter for those who wax wroth at double negatives in English language. It is that way in maths, but that doesn't mean it must be that way in language. Many who insist that "double negative = positive" argue that it is the "logical" meaning, and point to its validity in mathematics as "proof" that it must be applied in language too.
    I reluctantly break my promise not to post on this thread again (I had hoped that the thread had run its course and would end.), but the comments about language logic and mathematics force me to comment further. Actually I posted this argument earlier on but there now are so many posts and many recent post have talked about the logic issue, so I decided to repeat my previous comments. (If I want to stretch it a little, I can claim that technically I am not breaking my promise. )


    The suggestion that the claim that a double negative is logically positive receives support only from math is false. You don't need support from math.

    Just consider language.


    "Say nothing." means 'don't say anything', 'keep your mouth shut'.
    So how can "Don't say nothing" logically also mean 'don't say anything'? You've added a negative and somehow the meaning doesn't change? It's not logical. It's as illogical as claiming that 'I have money.' and 'I don't have money.' have the same meaning. Whether you add a negative to a sentence that already has a negative or add a negative to a sentence without a negative, you can't say that the meaning is logically the same.

    Of course nobody can stop people from using "Don't say nothing." when they mean 'Don't say anything.', but it is hardly logical.

  3. RonBee's Avatar
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    #54

    Re: Is this right?

    What do you think "I can't get no satisfaction" means?


  4. stuartnz's Avatar
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    #55

    re: Is this right?

    Quote Originally Posted by RonBee View Post
    Exactly! Math is math and language is language.

    Originally Posted by stuartnz
    Yes, and that seems to lie at the crux of the matter for those who wax wroth at double negatives in the English language. It is that way in maths, but that doesn't mean it must be that way in language.
    Exactly! Math is math and language is language.

    But they are wrong.
    Thanks for the "the" - I was going to write "language", changed my mind at the last second and said "English", and omitted the article.

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    #56

    Re: Is this right?

    Quote Originally Posted by RonBee View Post
    What do you think "I can't get no satisfaction" means?

    I know what it is meant to mean, but we are talking about the logic of language/grammar and everyone knows where song lyrics rank as examples of correct grammar.

  5. stuartnz's Avatar
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    #57

    Re: Is this right?

    Quote Originally Posted by Soup View Post
    As in this example, I couldn't fail to disagree less.
    That's not bad, but for a string of negatives, I still think Douglas Adams is pretty hard to beat:
    "That young girl," he added unexpectedly, "is one of the least
    benightedly unintelligent life forms it has been my profound lack
    of pleasure not to be able to avoid meeting."

    The next paragraph calls that a "labyrinthine string of negatives", but perhaps it was mazelike rather than labyrinthine. :)

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    #58

    Re: Is this right?

    Now I am sure I don't know why I don't know nothing when I don't watch european but american movies.

  6. stuartnz's Avatar
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    #59

    Re: Is this right?

    Quote Originally Posted by e2e4 View Post
    Now I am sure I don't know why I don't know nothing when I don't watch european but american movies.
    I think that Soup's wonderfully concise and simple summary from page 1 of this thread deserves repeating:


    • Do people say it? Yes.
    • Is it considered Standard English? No.

    And now I ain't got no need to say nothing more about it.

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    #60

    Re: Is this right?

    Do people pay double for the same thing? No
    Do people double the negation in the same sentence? Yes

    If they paid for the words they use they for sure wouldn't do it.

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