[Grammar] don't sign nothing

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RonBee

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Re: Is this right?

I think that Soup's wonderfully concise and simple summary from page 1 of this thread deserves repeating:


  • Do people say it? Yes.
  • Is it considered Standard English? No.
And now I ain't got no need to say nothing more about it. ;-)
:up:

There are those that say that double negatives are not logical, but they follow their own logic in the dialects that use them.

Unfortunately, prescriptivists have had way too much influence and have led us to disparage our own language or speakers of that language.
:-(
 

NanetteDee

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Re: Is this right?

Well, I might sound silly and excessive but I just feel the urge to contribute my two cents to this funny discussion.

At school, in English class, we were tought that a double negative is incorrect. You don't want to say "I don't know nothing", "Don't sign nothing". You say, instead, "I know nothing/ I don't know anything" "Sign nothing/Don't sign anything."
These, I've always believed, are basics.

Yet when you come to live in the English-speaking country, as it happened to me, people are not going to always speak the correct English for you. So, I believe, we, non-native speakers, should be aware of such expressions to exist and understand them. But we don't have to use them...

And indeed -- "Don't sigh nothing" sounds awfully clumsy even for my foreign ear.
 

$portytheking

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Re: Is this right?

techniccally no it not the right term would be if you said i cant do othing it would be i cant do anything;-)
 

magelarocque

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Re: Is this right?

No. You have used a double negative. The correct sentence would be: Don't sign anything.
If you say "Don't sign nothing", you are telling someone to sign something.
 

RonBee

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Re: Is this right?

No. You have used a double negative. The correct sentence would be: Don't sign anything.
If you say "Don't sign nothing", you are telling someone to sign something.
If your first language is English then you should know better. English is not mathematics. Two negatives do not cancel each other out and produce a positive. Don't sign nothing does not mean Sign something. Sometimes "English" teachers do tell us such things, but what we learn from real life tells us something different.


:roll:
 

iconoclast

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Re: Is this right?

No one has mentioned that double negative has a long and respectable pedigree, although my Swiss cheese of a memory can recall offhand no example from Old English, Chaucer, or Shakespeare. Double negative was one of the grammatical deadly sins outlawed by the Enlightenment standardisers of English, while their French counterparts, allegedly the most logical of the lot, were quite content to keep it, as is still the case in Standard French. Portuguese and Spanish are even more fun, allowing multiple negatives, e.g. Spanish 'Nadie no me dijo nada sobre nada', which literally translates as 'Nobody didn't tell me nothing about nothing', i.e. 'Nobody told me anything about anything' in Standard English.
 

iconoclast

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apologies to stuartnz

Sorry, I missed stuartnz's post mentioning the Medieval Mangler, aka Chaucer.
 

anupumh

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Re: Is this right?

It is very right and proper to indicate to a learner that there is a correct and an incorrect form. Whether the incorrect form is also a colloquially used one may be interesting, but does not help the learner who is trying to pass a test or complete an assignment.

More advanced learners may well find suitable opportunities to use colloquial forms in acceptable ways.

Soapboxes are slippery things to stand on.
Soapboxes are slippery things to stand on.

What is meant by this statement in this particular context?
 

RonBee

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Re: Is this right?

Soapboxes are slippery things to stand on.

What is meant by this statement in this particular context?
She was referring (I am sure) to Riverkid's post ( https://www.usingenglish.com/forum/general-members-discussions/72385-right.html#post316941 ). There is some disagreement about using the words correct and incorrect regarding English usage.

If you look up soabox, that might be helpful.
:)
 

johncalloway

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Re: Is this right?

well this usage is definitely wrong as double negatives are supposed to be incorrect.... Instead we say "I don't know anything"....
This double negative approach to english speaking actually sounds better in Hollywood movies during some conversation between gangsters.... :)
Else its no good use....
 

RonBee

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Re: Is this right?

this usage is definitely wrong
"I don't know nothing" is definitely wrong? That, as this thread shows, is a matter of opinion. Some people definitely do think it is wrong. Others disagree. Whether is it is wrong or not would have to depend--at least in part--on context.




:roll:
 

RonBee

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Re: Is this right?

I recently read this in a book:
.
I didn't see nothing. I didn't hear nothing neither.


:)




Hm.



:)
 

DougLewis

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"Language for communication" and "language for tests"... may need separate approaches.

Need dictates requirement.

Trying to assist ESL students is a very fine line to walk, knowing what they require from a contextual perspective is often more difficult than providing a "technical" answer.

My hat is off to everyone who tries to help.

I am sure all answers are appreciated... even if they only raise more questions.

While there is discourse, there is learning.
 

Janvier

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don't sign nothing

is that a correct way of saying it????

when two negatives are used in a single sentence, it does not make much sense, it more like you are trying to make the sentence positive. so, don't sign nothing is grammatically incorrect, it's better to say don't sign anything.
 

DougLewis

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when two negatives are used in a single sentence, it does not make much sense, it more like you are trying to make the sentence positive. so, don't sign nothing is grammatically incorrect, it's better to say don't sign anything.

It also begs the question, "how does one sign nothing?"

Perhaps with invisible ink (Groan)
 

Devd

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Don't sign nothing- is a double negetive and is usually not the most acceptable modal of the language(until its a poem or a song). It should be avoided
 
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