Vague ramblings

I’m very, very not not bothered

Posted in Musing by Ian Cundell on 17 September, 2006

The one that common sense lost was when a bunch of Oxbridge knobs decided that common folk from various locales needed a lesson in logic. They declared the exclamation: “I ain’t got no bleedin’ money” a logical statement.

It wasn’t of course – nobody who hears such an outburst would take as a claim to great riches, or even modest means – but it is the battle lost. The double negative is declared bad grammar and that is that.

Curiously, its opposite – the double positive – is simply declared a matter of bad style. Nobody would mistake “I’m very, very happy” as anything other than a little hyperbole. Structurally, syntactically and in terms of meaning it is no different from its Cockney cousin, yet the good working class usage gets condemned.

Of course, neither has much use in business writing, so your exercise for today is to consider the many different way to give emphasis and their strengths and weaknesses.

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4 Responses

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  1. paris.longue said, on 2 May, 2007 at 2:58 pm

    My God. Where does one start?The double negative is not declared bad grammar – it’s just confusing and can be said more simply. And it’s not a matter of class. What about the upper class “I am not uninterested in what you say”? Just as contorted as “not ‘avin any bleedin’ money” The difference between the double positive and the double negative is not one of class but logic. Every additional negative changes the meaning of a sentence to its opposite. No more than one is needed. Using any more than one is just confusing. A double (or triple or quadruple) positive adds emphasis. It’s a means of expression. “Structurally, syntactically and in terms of meaning it is no different from its Cockney cousin”. Firstly , this statement is absolutely untrue. Secondly, what has being Cockney got to do with it? Upper class twits use double negatives too. I gave an example above. The chip on your shoulder is showing Ian. It’s tiresome.

  2. Ian Cundell said, on 2 May, 2007 at 3:34 pm

    Gosh, dear mystery person. Where does one start?upper class “I am not uninterested in what you say”In what way is this upper class? Pretentious, perhaps, but upper class? Well, that’s the false premise dealt with.Every additional negative changes the meaning of a sentence to its opposite. If rhetoric were logic you might have a point. But it isn’t, so you don’t. Whether in east London or Yorkshire, the double negative was always emphasis.Upper class twits use double negatives too.Perhaps. But they think they are being ironic.

  3. paris.longue said, on 2 May, 2007 at 4:40 pm

    “In what way is this upper class?” In the sense that “I ain’t got no bleedin’ money” is, according to you, Cockney. Is that a false premise too?

  4. Ian Cundell said, on 3 May, 2007 at 12:45 am

    And another swing and a miss. I always knew going to West Ham would come in handy one day.Learn the distinction between a “dialect”, and the way it uses rhetoric, and “something you made up to try to bolster a spurious troll”. And then go away.


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