Double Negative

A double negative occurs when two forms of negation are used in the same sentence. Multiple negation is the more general term referring to the occurrence of more than one negative in a clause.

In most logics and some languages, double negatives cancel one another and produce an affirmative sense; in other languages, doubled negatives intensify the negation. Languages where multiple negatives intensify each other are said to have negative concord. Portuguese, French, Persian, and Spanish are examples of negative-concord languages, while Latin and German do not have negative concord. Standard English lacks negative concord, but it was normal in Old English and Middle English, and some modern dialects do have it (e.g. African American Vernacular English and Cockney), although its usage in English is often stigmatized.

Languages without negative concord typically have negative polarity items that are used in place of additional negatives when another negating word already occurs. Examples are "ever", "anything" and "anyone" in the sentence "I haven't ever owed anything to anyone" (cf. "I haven't never owed nothing to no one" in negative-concord dialects of English, and "Nunca devi nada a ninguém" in Portuguese, lit. "Never have I owed nothing to no one"). Note that negative polarity can be triggered not only by direct negatives such as "not" or "never", but by words such as "doubt" or "hardly" ("I doubt he has ever owed anything to anyone" or "He has hardly ever owed anything to anyone").

Stylistically, in English, double negatives can sometimes be used for understated affirmation (e.g. "I'm not feeling bad" vs. "I'm feeling good"). The rhetorical term for this is litotes.

Read more about Double NegativeEnglish, Germanic Languages, Romance Languages, Welsh, Greek, Slavic Languages, Baltic Languages, Uralic Languages, Japanese, Chinese, History of Languages

Other articles related to "double negative, double, negative":

Afrikaans Grammar - Syntax - Double Negative
... A particular feature of Afrikaans is its use of the double negative, something that is absent from the other West Germanic standard languages ... Both French and San origins have been suggested for double negation in Afrikaans ... While double negation is still found in Low Franconian dialects in West-Flanders and in some "isolated" villages in the center of the Netherlands (i.e ...
Double Negative - History of Languages
... known as Jespersen's cycle, where an original negative particle is replaced by another, passing through an intermediate stage employing two particles (e.g ... In many cases the original sense of the new negative particle is not negative per se (thus in French pas "step", originally "not a step" = "not a bit"), but in Germanic languages such as English and ... A similar development to a circumfix from double negation can be seen in non-Indo-European languages, too for example, in Maltese, kiel "he ate" is negated as ma kielx "he ...
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... Double Negative is a British full-service visual effects/computer animation company located in Fitzrovia, London ... In 2009, Double Negative opened its Singapore office ... Currently housing a team of close to 200 artists, the Singapore office works closely with the Double Negative team in London on selected productions ...
Electromagnetic Metamaterials - Classification of Electromagnetic Metamaterials - Negative Index Materials
... In negative index metamaterials (NIM), both permittivity and permeability are negative resulting in a negative index of refraction ... Hence, because of the double negative parameters these are also known as Double Negative Metamaterials or double negative materials (DNG) ... NIMs are "left-handed media", "media with a negative refractive index", and "backward-wave media", along with other nomenclatures ...
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... As director Double Negative (1985) Guilty as Charged (1991) Acting on Impulse (1993) (TV) Oblivion (1994) Out There (1995) (TV) Magic Island (1995) (V) Oblivion 2 Backlash (1996) Kiss of a ...

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