Student or Learner
Please could you tell me what this sentence 'I can't help not being amused by the silly jokes' mean? Is the speaker being amused? And what is the difference between this sentence and 'I can't help being amused by the silly jokes'?
(This sentence in the thread title is taken from John Eastwood's OXFORD GUIDE TO ENGLISH GRAMMAR)
I am not a teacher.
It should come as no surprise to learn that, "I can't help not being amused by the silly jokes" means exactly the opposite of "I can't help being amused by the silly jokes"
There is a certain irony in the constuction since you would normally expect "I can't help…" to be followed by a positive rather than a negative, and in this way it becomes a silly joke itself.