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  1. Odessa Dawn's Avatar
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    #1

    "don't say nothing"


    Double negative - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Quote Originally Posted by SoothingDave View Post
    There was once a language professor lecturing his students and he pointed out that English has the double negative, which means a positive.
    "The world is supposed to end? Nah, I doubt it," one person said. "We ain't worried. Nah, the Bible don't say nothing about what time or what date. Whoever came up with that, I have no idea."

    Is "don't say nothing" double negative?

  2. 5jj's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: "don't say nothing"

    Quote Originally Posted by Odessa Dawn View Post
    Is "don't say nothing" double negative?
    Yes, but the sort that is generally regarded as sub-standard. In this situation, it reinforces the negation rather than cancel it.

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    #3

    Re: "don't say nothing"

    Yes, it is. The problem with the double negative is that in standard English two negatives make a positive. Like multiplying two negative numbers yields a positive number.

    But the double negative is often used to intensify the negative. This is sometimes a deliberate choice, other times it is simply a person's natural English.

    In this case, the author means that the Bible does not contain a "time and date" for the end of the world. He used the double negative in a non-standard way.

    This is not uncommon.

  3. david11's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: "don't say nothing"

    While I leave the usage of double negative to teachers to answer, I just want to say my experience with double negative used by native speakers.

    Sometimes ago, I thought using double negative is a style of writing. I see a lot native speakers using it. Then I realized that, it is not style but error which even native speakers would commit. You can see it more common in movies. See this thread.

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    #5

    Re: "don't say nothing"

    We can say they are "errors" or are "non-standard," but it is not like users of the double negative are usually misunderstood.

    It is part of the evolution of language. I wouldn't use it in formal or business writing, but in casual conversation it is not uncommon for many native speakers.

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