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    #1

    I don't dislike her.

    Hi,

    - I don't dislike her.

    Could you please tell me if it may mean that ''I DO like her'' or ''I DON'T like her''?

    Thanks.

  1. Raymott's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: I don't dislike her.

    No, it means neither of those. It quite literally means "I don't dislike her".
    A: "Why do you dislike Anna?"
    B: "I don't dislike Anna. I've never even met her."

    Or he might know Anna, and have no feelings one way or the other about her. If he is accused of disliking her, the natural response would be, "I don't dislike her. I barely know her."

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    #3

    Re: I don't dislike her.

    So many thanks for the explanation. However, why some sites claim that double negatives mean positive? Some of them are:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double_negative

    http://walkerroyce.com/blog/observat...dont-disagree/

    That is why I asked this question of you. I feel confused.

  2. Raymott's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: I don't dislike her.

    The Wikipedia article is fine. The other one's wrong in parts. Remember that anyone can post a blog.
    'Dislike' is not a negative in syntactical terms. "I don't dislike her" does not mean "I like her", as I've explained.
    In practical terms, if you don't disagree, you either agree, OR you don't care enough to make a decision.
    If you treat all English words starting with 'dis' as negatives, then if you're not diseased, you're eased - which is silly.
    There's probably a spectrum of such words, and on one end "not dis***ed" could mean "***ed".
    This applies to all such negating prefixes - un, in, anti, etc. If I'm not anti-war, that does not make me pro-war. You can't claim that because I am not at one end of a spectrum, I must be at the other end. That is black and white thinking, and it's invalid.


    You need to think about the logical meaning of words. Did you read the Wikipedia article?
    "For instance, "I do not disagree" could mean "I certainly agree". Further statements may be necessary to resolve which particular meaning was intended.
    Because of this ambiguity, double negatives are frequently employed when making back-handed compliments. The phrase "Mr. Jones was not incompetent." will seldom mean "Mr. Jones was very competent" since the speaker would have found a more flattering way to say so. Instead, some kind of problem is implied, though Mr. Jones possesses basic competence at his tasks."
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double_negative

  3. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: I don't dislike her.

    I agree with Raymott. "I don't dislike XXX" is usually somewhere in between "I like" and "I dislike".

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