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Sunday, May 10, 2015

Yes Yes No

double negatives and double positives

Shamelessly stolen from a true story.


13 comments:

  1. Technically, "Il n'y a rien" is not a double negative - "rien" comes from Latin "res" = "thing". So it strictly means "There is no-thing". Same for "il n'y a personne" or "je n'ai jamais vu ça".

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    1. Interesting! Did not know that. Maybe there's a better example in a different language?

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    2. There is a good one in French. One can say "Je n'ai jamais vu rien" to mean "I never saw anything" although "jamais" and "rien" are both negatives. So it's technically "I never saw nothing."

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    3. There'd also be Spanish: No hay nada. There's nothing (literally: There isn't nothing).

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    4. @ Bobbye A: Your example isn't more fitting than Malachi's since jamais = ever and rien = anything. "Je n'ai jamais vu rien" = "I haven't ever seen anything". While the "ne" is frequently stripped in colloquial language (leaving the second part as a negative), that doesn't make the "original" a double negative ;-)

      There are examples for French, though:
      Je ne vais nulle part. (= I don't go nowhere = I don't go anywhere)
      Nul ne peut t'égaler. (= Nobody can't equal you = Nobody can equal you)

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    5. It is funny, it think it's not even possible to form double negatives in Finnish language, I mean so that the sentence would be grammatical. I can't think of any ...

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    6. I think you're right. I've been pondering this for long now, and the only thing in Finnish I can think of is something like "syömättä ei elä" (you don't live without eating, syömättä - without eating, ei - no, elä - live) but that's a bit different.

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  2. Die Nichtverwendung doppelter Verneinung ist untersagt.

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  3. Oi, geezer, if you fink a dubble negative makes a positive, well you ain't seen nuffink yet! ;)

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  4. I must say that Morgenbesser sounds like a fake name like Franz Gutentag =]

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  5. There is also the same joke in russian.

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    1. Yep - Да, конечно! literally translated as Yes, of course

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    2. Aga, nu da, kanechno.

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