I did not do nothing!

I didn’t do nothing wrong!

I did nothing wrong!

What’s the difference between the two sentences above? They contradict each other. First sentence implies you did something wrong; the second sentence says you did not do anything wrong.

Another pet peeve I have is with people using double negative sentences, especially when the person thinks he or she is telling what they express, when they don’t. I hear people use double negatives often. My household is no exception; my parents use them too. For instance, my mother exclaims, “They didn’t do nothing,” to refer to her dogs excretory functions. Sometimes, they do nothing, but she utters the above sentence. Instead, she needs to say, “They didn’t do anything.” Another instance occurs when my father says, “You didn’t say nothing,” when, in some situations, I said nothing. The opposite of the sentence is implied, but his intention is in the negative. You understand my dislike for this? Unless someone means the opposite of the sentence implied, say what you mean in the positive or negative.

I’m unsure if people are aware of the implication they make when using a double negative sentence: the opposite of the statement is the actual meaning. Perhaps, yes. Perhaps, no. I guess it depends on the person. People must reflect on what they are telling before they use a double negative sentence, because it will lead people to misinterpret or misunderstand them.

The following article lists common double negatives: http://examples.yourdictionary.com/examples-of-double-negatives.html

This following article explains the purpose of them (note: read the comments below to learn people’s viewpoints): http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/whats-double-negative

 

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