Double negatives in English

Double negatives in English

I don't think that double negatives are bad English, but they should be avoided if they create ambiguity and unnecessary complexity. But "He couldn't not talk to me" conveys different information from "He could talk to me."
Asked 1 year ago
ChrisC1Correct answer

Hi Paul,

I think calling the lesson you refer to as dealing with "double negatives" is misleading. What's being discussed are two negations but of different things. For example:

I never said anything. -- This is a negation of time (never) and object (anything) following each other. In this case, they don't cancel and are stylistically perfectly OK in English because they negate different things.

Therefore, strictly speaking, the lesson does NOT deal with double negatives.

-- Chris.

Double negatives in English

I don't think that double negatives are bad English, but they should be avoided if they create ambiguity and unnecessary complexity. But "He couldn't not talk to me" conveys different information from "He could talk to me."

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