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    #1

    Question Is it correct to say "He hasn't done nothing"

    Is it correct to say "He hasn't done nothing" I have heard it's correct as many people use it in slang language but in formal English it looks like incorrect, it should be "He hasn't done anything"
    or
    No one is allowed to get nothing from the shop
    No one is allowed to get anything from the shop
    Obviously the second one is correct but I heard the first one as well which is a bit strange for me.
    Can anyone help?

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    #2

    Re: Is it correct to say "He hasn't done nothing"

    Not a teacher.

    The "double negative" is technically ungrammatical, but common in everyday speech.

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    #3

    Re: Is it correct to say "He hasn't done nothing"

    Quote Originally Posted by hznaeem View Post
    Is it correct to say "He hasn't done nothing" I have heard it's correct as many people use it in slang language but in formal English it looks like incorrect, it should be "He hasn't done anything"
    or
    No one is allowed to get nothing from the shop
    No one is allowed to get anything from the shop
    Obviously the second one is correct but I heard the first one as well which is a bit strange for me.
    Can anyone help?
    Not a teacher, just a language lover.

    Personally, I wouldn't recommend you use this structure even though it's quite common in informal speech.

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    #4

    Re: Is it correct to say "He hasn't done nothing"

    "He hasn't done nothing" can be perfectly correct in context.

    A. 'I asked him to clean the house but he's done nothing!'

    B. 'He hasn't done nothing - he swept the floor for one thing.'

    Rover

  1. Raymott's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Is it correct to say "He hasn't done nothing"

    Rover's example gives the meaning of the phrase if used correctly. However, I would say that the phrase (and double negation in general) is just as likely to be used incorrectly to mean the same as the phrase with a single negation (as meobeo has found on the streets of Melbourne).
    For that reason it's best avoided.

  2. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Is it correct to say "He hasn't done nothing"

    In television and the movies, characters who are supposed to be poorly educated and ignorant or of lower social classes will say "I ain't done nuthin" or "I didn't seen nuthin'."

    You need to decide if you wish to be thought of in the same light. I use them only for deliberate effect. I'll look wide-eyed at my boss and say "I don't know nothing 'bout nothing!" to pretend I'm unaware about something. I would never, never say "I don't know nothing" or "I haven't done nothing" in common speech.

    One exception is the common "You ain't seen nothing yet!" which means "Just wait - there's great stuff coming soon!"
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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