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  1. beachboy's Avatar
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    #1

    little

    Iīve learned that in English we hardly ever use two negative words in the same sentence, unless both have a full meaning (Michael Swan - Donīt just say nothing). If I like drinking water, but somebody asks me if I drink little water, can I say: No, I donīt drink little water, I drinks lots of it.?


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    #2

    Re: little

    Quote Originally Posted by beachboy View Post
    Iīve learned that in English we hardly ever use two negative words in the same sentence, unless both have a full meaning (Michael Swan - Donīt just say nothing). If I like drinking water, but somebody asks me if I drink little water, can I say: No, I donīt drink little water, I drinks lots of it.?
    No, we don't use "little" in such a manner. Something like this is more likely:

    You don't drink much water, do you?

    Yes, I drink lots of water.

    Furthermore, I don't think (in your example) "little" would be classed as a negative word. It is merely describing an amount.
    Last edited by colloquium; 12-Dec-2008 at 15:14.

  2. BobK's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: little

    Quote Originally Posted by colloquium View Post
    No, we don't use "little" in such a manner. Something like this is more likely:

    You don't drink much water, do you?

    Yes, I drink lots of water.

    Furthermore, I don't think (in your example) "little" would be classed as a negative word. It is merely describing an amount.
    I agree with this, but would have given a slightly different answer, starting with the word "Yes" - . If someone asked *'Do you drink little water?' it would be reasonable to answer 'No... I drink lots of it.' But nobody, as you said, would ask that.

    b

  3. RonBee's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: little

    Beachboy, perhaps you can think up a more plausible scenario?



  4. beachboy's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: little

    The question is not the point, but the context... Suppose somebody, at a party, says - Hey, guys, Beachboy doesnīt buy beer because he prefers coffee. He drinks little beer... What should I say:
    Hey, wait a minute!
    (a) Itīs not true that I drink little beer! I drink lots of it!
    (b) I donīt drink little beer! I drink lots of it!
    (c) I drink lots of beer...
    So what I really want to know is if itīs ever possible to use a negative (not/never) and the word little in sentences like that...

  5. RonBee's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: little

    Quote Originally Posted by beachboy View Post
    The question is not the point, but the context... Suppose somebody, at a party, says - Hey, guys, Beachboy doesnīt buy beer because he prefers coffee. He drinks little beer... What should I say:
    Hey, wait a minute!
    (a) Itīs not true that I drink little beer! I drink lots of it!
    (b) I donīt drink little beer! I drink lots of it!
    (c) I drink lots of beer...
    So what I really want to know is if itīs ever possible to use a negative (not/never) and the word little in sentences like that...
    Please reread the posts by Colloquim and Bob K. More plausible would be:
    Ron: Beachboy doesn't drink much beer.
    Beachboy: On the contrary, I drink lots of beer.
    Ron: Oh? What's your favorite brand?
    Beachboy: I'm not picky. I'll drink just any damn thing.

  6. BobK's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: little

    Quote Originally Posted by beachboy View Post
    ...
    So what I really want to know is if itīs ever possible to use a negative (not/never) and the word little in sentences like that...
    Not in sentences like that though it is sometimes used (in British English at least, though usually in a fairly formal style) as a form of understatement:

    'I was not a little surprised by this change of tone.'
    'I have to admit I'm not a little disappointed.'

    Here it means 'a lot/a good deal/very'.

    b

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