WTT: Zombie Rule #3

Don’t not use no multiple negatives. At one point in history, namely Shakespeare’s point in history, multiple negative enhanced the statement. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, though, it’s not like multiple negatives sound pretty or proper. Most importantly, they do not create a positive.

This isn’t math.

And if it were math, the multiple negatives would not be multiplied but added together. As we all know, well, those of us who are good at math as well as language arts, a negative PLUS a negative equals a larger negative.

Let’s look at one of my favorite songs:

I can’t get no satisfaction.

It’s got a nice ring to it. Probably why it’s such a popular song. It isn’t standard construction but you know what the Stones are saying: they can’t find any satisfaction. Do you think the Rolling Stones’ hit would have been as awesome if the lyric were “I can’t get any satisfaction?” No. No, it wouldn’t. What if it were written out completely as “I can not find any satisfaction?” Boring. Boring and not very rhythmic.

No native English speaker is going to misunderstand your intentions… though they may cringe a bit depending on fondness for the English language.

Advertisements