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Section 6.13

Double Negatives

Use only one negative word to express a negative idea. In English, using twonegative words to express one negative idea creates a positive rather than anegative interpretation.


Unacceptable

The water management model simulated how water would flow through today'sEverglades if all the pumps, gates, and other water control devices hadnot never been built. [Not never means at some time.]

Acceptable

The water management model simulated how water would flow through today'sEverglades if all the pumps, gates, and other water control devices hadnever been built.

Acceptable

The water management model simulated how water would flow through today'sEverglades if all the pumps, gates, and other water control devices hadnot been built.

--Norman Boucher, "Back to the Everglades," Technology Review(modified)


If you would like to negate more than one word, use a negative word for the firstword you would like to negate and replace any remaining negative words with anindefinite pronoun beginning with any- orthe adverb ever.


Unacceptable

Because no one was never around torecord nothing, the computer model's algorithms cannot becalibrated and verified against reality.

Acceptable

Because no one was ever around to recordanything, the computer model's algorithms cannot be calibratedand verified against reality.

--Norman Boucher, "Back to the Everglades," Technology Review(modified)


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## Double Negatives ##
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