I ain't got no problem with negative concord. Do you?
I'm not talking about using a construction like that in formal writing, but in your own native variety of English, do you use double negatives? Is my meaning obscured by the presence of a double negative, as Bishop Lowth tried to argue?
To directly answer Gerry's question -- in your own native variety of English, do you use double negatives? -- on occasion, yes ...but only in informal conversation amongst my peer group.
My native variety of English is best characterized as rural Central California (my formative years were between the mid-1950s and the mid-1970s). The language history of my birth area was heavily influenced by the original Mid-Atlantic American settlers (1842 on) with a sprinkling of Texas (1850s) and Oklahoma (1930s) immigration waves. Spanish has been a constant influence and German was quite prevalent between 1856 and 1916.
I find I tend to use the double negative in speech as an intensifier -- I suppose the Spanish influence is at play here. It is almost always an intentional usage for me. I seldom "slip" into its use. I never use it in writing, no matter how informal.
As I have aged, I find I use and hear the usage (at least amongst my peer group) less. I suppose that may be due to my location -- a university community in the San Francisco Bay Area -- and my peer circle -- design professionals, academics and teachers, and several professional writers. I suppose our formal writing training makes us less apt to use the double negative in conversation. Still, the usage is not unknown.
I hope this helps.
|link||edited Jan 16 '13 at 03:22 Jeff Pribyl Grammarly Fellow|
I, as well as most people, will use double negatives and slang in speech, but rarely in writing. The point is generally made and understood. Grammar has evolved since the 18th century, as it had before the Bishop's time, and contemporary will be better understood than the archaic. I recently began to read Dracula, and 19th century prose became tedious, and I never finished it.
Some languages consider double negatives proper, but 21st century English doesn't. Most people asking questions here are learning English as a second (or more) language, so the advice is usually aimed at following the rules.
No language uses a double positive to mean a negative.
|link||answered Jan 15 '13 at 16:52 Lewis Neidhardt Grammarly Fellow|
I find it can be helpful in creating distinct dialogue between characters if one does, and the other does not. It allows me to use fewer dialogue tags when a reader knows that Jim-Bob says, "I ain't got no..." while Mr. Anderson says, "I would never..."
But then again, I'm a fiction writer, and character is character.
|link comment||answered Jan 19 '13 at 05:17 Tony Proano Expert|
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