"don't say nothing"

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Odessa Dawn

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Double negative - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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?
 

5jj

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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.
 

SoothingDave

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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.
 

david11

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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.
 

SoothingDave

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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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