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DOUBLE NEGATIVE

DOUBLE NEGATIVE. The use of two or more negatives in the same construction. There are two categories: (1) If the meaning is emphatically negative (I never said nothing to nobody), the construction is not part of STANDARD ENGLISH, though it is long-attested, and common in many varieties of the language. (2) If the meaning is rhetorically positive (She is not unintelligent: She is intelligent; You can't not respect their decision: You have to respect their decision; Nobody has NO friends: Everybody has some friends), the construction is part of standard English. Compare LITOTES. See NEGATION.

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double negative

dou·ble neg·a·tive • n. Gram. a negative statement containing two negative elements (for example didn't say nothing). ∎  a positive statement in which two negative elements are used to produce the positive force, usu. for some particular rhetorical effect (for example there is not nothing to worry about!).

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"double negative." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. 23 Jun. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"double negative." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. (June 23, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/double-negative

"double negative." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Retrieved June 23, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/double-negative

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