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    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Bulgarian
      • Home Country:
      • Bulgaria
      • Current Location:
      • Bulgaria

    • Join Date: Sep 2007
    • Posts: 5,000

    nothing for nothing

    Dear teachers,

    Would you be kind enough to tell me whether I am right with my interpretation of the expression in bold in the following sentence?

    …I forgot that nothing is to be had for nothing.

    nothing for nothing = very little for a halfpenny

    Thanks for your efforts.



  1. Tullia's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • England

    • Join Date: Aug 2010
    • Posts: 628

    Re: nothing for nothing

    The phrase "nothing for nothing" is actually officially bad English, as it's a double negative.

    It is usually used for emphasis, and in fact means "anything for nothing" or "nothing for free".

    It should be avoided in formal writing, although it's considered pretty acceptable nowadays in casual conversation.

    I don't like it personally, but I'm an old fuddy-duddy!


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