Common Stumbling Blocks - Peculiar Constructions - Misused Forms.
It must be remembered that two negatives in the English language destroy
each other and are equivalent to an affirmative. Thus "I don't know
nothing about it" is intended to convey, that I am ignorant of the
matter under consideration, but it defeats its own purpose, inasmuch as
the use of nothing implies that I know something about it. The sentence
should read--"I don't know anything about it."
Often we hear such expressions as "He was not asked to give no
opinion," expressing the very opposite of what is intended. This sentence
implies that he was asked to give his opinion. The double negative,
therefore, should be carefully avoided, for it is insidious and is liable
to slip in and the writer remain unconscious of its presence until the
eye of the critic detects it.
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