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    #1

    usage of double negation in a few sentences

    Dear teachers,

    Would you be kind enough to tell me your opinion concerning the usage of double negation in the following sentences?

    1.The compound was prepared in 1865, although it was not recognized as a thiazole until 1879.
    2.The theoretical aspects of the phenomenon will not be treated until later.
    3.It is infrequently happens that a large phage population contains a few variant phage particles.
    4.It is not improbable that there took place an inversion of configuration.

    Thank you for your efforts.

    Regards,

    V.


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    #2

    Re: usage of double negation in a few sentences

    I may be a tad hazy, but I can nowhere see any double negation.


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    #3

    Re: usage of double negation in a few sentences

    1.The compound was prepared in 1865, although it was not recognized as a thiazole until 1879.
    2.The theoretical aspects of the phenomenon will not be treated until later.
    3.It is infrequently happens that a large phage population contains a few variant phage particles.
    4.It is not improbable that there took place an inversion of configuration.

    Questions 1 and 2 contain no double negatives.. questions 3 and 4 however, can use a little help. Here is a re-write:

    question 3:
    Infrequently, a large phage population may contain a few variant phage particles. ( since you are delving into some type of scientific research here, I will leave the sentence as such)

    question 4:
    It is improbable that an inversion of configuration took place.

    Hope this helps!

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    #4

    Re: usage of double negation in a few sentences

    I am nearly as hazy as Svartnik, as I can only see one double negation, in the fourth sentence. I would paraphrase it "It is quite probable...".

    I blame German beer....

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    #5

    Re: usage of double negation in a few sentences

    Quote Originally Posted by svartnik View Post
    I may be a tad hazy, but I can nowhere see any double negation.
    Hi Svartnik,

    To the best of my knowledge the usage in one sentence of a combination of a negative part “not” with an adjective or adverb that begins with a negative prefix such as in– or un–, is a 100% implication of a double negation.. I like to call a spade a spade.For example there are such expressions as: a not infrequent visitor, a not unjust decision. In these expressions the double negative conveys a weaker affirmative than would be conveyed by the positive adjective or adverb by itself. Thus, a not infrequent visitor seems likely to visit less frequently than a frequent visitor. • A double (or more accurately, multiple) negative is considered unacceptable in Standard English when it is used to convey or reinforce a negative meaning, as in He didn't say nothing (meaning “he said nothing” or “he didn't say anything”).

    In my opinion the mentioned above sentences are of that kind.

    Regards.

    V.

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    #6

    Re: usage of double negation in a few sentences

    With respect, it still seems to me that this does not occur in any of your original examples except 4. Possibly there is a typo in 3 and the second word should be "not"? Then that would be another one. But in the first two I can only see one negation, "not" (or a compound expression "not... until...").

    Possibly you are taking the "un-" in "until" as a negative prefix? This is certainly not correct, either synchronically or etymologically:



    until
    c.1200, from O.N. und "as far as, up to" (related to O.E. end; see end) + till "until, up to" (see till). Originally also used of persons and places. Cf. Swed. intill, Dan. indtil. The Mod.Ger. equivalent, bis (O.H.G. biaz), is a similar compound, of O.H.G. bi "by, at, to" and zu "to."

    http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?l=u&p=10
    Last edited by orangutan; 19-Jun-2009 at 12:29. Reason: adding link

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    #7

    Re: usage of double negation in a few sentences

    While I agree that till and until are quite interchangeable, there is a significant school of thought that considers until a negation: See Quirk, Mittwoch and Kartunnen:

    Kartunnen, L. 1974. "Until," in Papers from The Tenth Regional Meeting of the Chicago Linguistic Society: 284-297.

    Mittwoch, Anita. 1977. "Negative Sentences with UNTIL" in Papers from the Thirteenth Regional Meeting of the Chicago Linguistic Society: 410-417.

    Quirk, Randolph. 1978. A Concise Grammar of Contemporary English. New York: Hartcourt, Brace, Jovanovich. Roget, Peter Mark. 1983. Roget's Thesaurus. London: Penguin.

    Also, Yishai Tobin, in <a href="http://www.chass.utoronto.ca/french/as-sa/ASSA-No8/Vol3.No8.Tobin.pdf">Applied Semiotics / Sémiotique appliquée</a> writes an article on this.

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    #8

    Re: usage of double negation in a few sentences

    That is interesting, I can see similarities with negation. I will check the literature.

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    #9

    Re: usage of double negation in a few sentences

    On the other hand, it is curious that "until" doesn't seem to count as a negation for the purposes of "negative polarity items":

    "I am staying here until I have caught some fish."

    and not:

    * "I am staying here until I have caught any fish."

    I haven't read the articles yet - maybe they address this.

  2. konungursvia's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: usage of double negation in a few sentences

    It may, however, although I'm not convinced either, but it may: the condition being fulfilled, I stop remaining and go. Other regional types of English in which the double negation is common often don't respect the standard norms for not...any "negative polarity" either. Cf. Mark Twain. "I never seen anybody but lied at one time or another, without it was Aunt Polly, or maybe Mary...." Where are the negatives here? There are several, but it's hard for us to identify.

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