Quadruple Negative!

May 6, 2013 - By

This is a true story about something an actual person said unironically! Bad grammar and misused English syntax bug me as much as the next guy, but that’s not to say I’m really critical or hard on people who mess up the language. After all, English is hard, and there are a ton of examples that break rules or seem crazy.

But not as crazy as this. 

In English a “double negative” cancels out the meaning of the negative. For example “I never got no email” would mean that you had never received the absence of email, so in fact you got some email! Most of us are familiar with the double negative, but how about a quadruple!?

It was the summer of 2000 and I was working at the Best Western in North Bay in the catering department. A colleague was trying to articulate that it would be better to have more of us serve coffee after a meal than was standard procedure:

“We need to do this more so nobody ain’t denied nothing.

I was in shock! I instantly looked around in disbelief but my meaning was misinterpreted. “She’s right Arley. We do need more of us doing this.”

On the walk home I had a lot of fun trying to understand how syntactically the meaning of that worked out.

This goes down as one of my favourite things I’ve ever heard someone say! Bad English is distracting, and can be annoying at times, but when something said reaches this high level of language-abuse it becomes awesome!

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This post was written by ArleyM