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

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17. This poll is closed
  • Definitely

    8 47.06%
  • It can do

    8 47.06%
  • Definitely Not

    1 5.88%
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  1. #1
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Double negatives

    What do you think?

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    I did have a definitely not option as well, but the system only allows two possibilities. ;-(

  3. #3
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    It can. We Americans have been conditioned by our educational system to believe that it is a bad thing.

  4. #4
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    You will find few educated speakers using it here, despite the fact that Shakespeare did.

  5. #5
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    There is a particular kind of "double negative" that is used by many well-respected writers. It manifests itself in expressions like not uncommon, not unusual, and not unlikely. In my humble opinion, it has the problem of vagueness if not verbosity. (I am sure there are those who will disagree.) The meaning of common is imprecise, so the meaning of not uncommon is doubly imprecise.

    As I said, that is my opinion. Many (perhaps most) will disagree with it.

    :)

  6. #6
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Those expressions are very common in BE. ;-|

  7. #7
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    Many vague expressions are quite common, but I try to avoid them, as they lack clarity.

  8. #8
    Red5 is offline Webmaster, UsingEnglish.com
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    Quote Originally Posted by tdol
    I did have a definitely not option as well, but the system only allows two possibilities. ;-(
    Does it? I just added the Definitely Not option!
    I'm not a teacher, so please consider any advice I give in that context.

  9. #9
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    It ate mine- how did you do it?

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by RonBee
    There is a particular kind of "double negative" that is used by many well-respected writers. It manifests itself in expressions like not uncommon, not unusual, and not unlikely. In my humble opinion, it has the problem of vagueness if not verbosity. (I am sure there are those who will disagree.) The meaning of common is imprecise, so the meaning of not uncommon is doubly imprecise.

    As I said, that is my opinion. Many (perhaps most) will disagree with it.

    :)
    As tdol pointed out this type of double negative is common in BE. When I was thinking about the question these examples didn't occur to me. In my original comment I made mention to Spanish:

    No me gusta a nadie = I don't like nobody.
    No sé nada = I don't know nothing.

    These are the types of double negatives I was thinking of, which sound awful to me in English, but perfectly acceptable in Spanish.

    Iain

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