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Forum > English only || Bottom

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Message from lizi20 posted on 18-06-2022 at 22:21:23 (D | E | F)
When I was studying English, my teacher told me that there is no double negation in English. "There isn't any milk" has two negations, doesn't it?
She said that two negations equal one positive statement. If this sentence is correct, I must have misunderstood something.
Thanks a lot.

Re: Some-any/help from gerondif, posted on 19-06-2022 at 00:46:30 (D | E)
Any is not a negative word. There isn't any milk means there isn't the slightest drop of milk in the house.

some : means I know the "product" exists, is there, there is a certain quantity of it: There is some bread in the cupboard, there are some biscuits in the cupboard.
any : means that I don't know if the product exists or not in a question : Have you got any money ? Did you see any tourists on the cliff ?
any : after a negative word, means : the slightest number of, quantity of : I haven't got any money, I didn't have any friends at the time.
no : used after a verb in the affirmative form to "destroy" the object.
I didn't see any cars = I saw no cars.

You can hear double negatives in colloquial English : I ain't got no money = I haven't got any money.
I didn't see nobody, mate = I saw nobody, Sir (meaning : I saw zero person) =I didn't see anybody, Sir (meaning : I didn't see the slightest person).

Your teacher was right : - x - = +

A double negative is an affirmation : I didn't see NObody, actually, there was somebody hiding behind that tree.
You said he had nothing to eat but he didn't have NOthing to eat . In fact, he had something to eat before he came, so it will be trickier for him to undergo surgery now.
He didn't come with no tools (without any tools), he did bring some tools along with him.

Any in an affirmative sentence means that you can choose whatever item crosses your mind.
Take a card ! Any card ! Look at it, don't show it to me, and put it back in the pack anywhere you like. I will then guess which card it was.

There can be a problem in understanding :
Don't say anything !( with no particular stress on any), just meaning : say nothing, keep your mouth shut.
Versus :
Don't say anything, meaning stop speaking nonsense, where any has the meaning it would have in :
He says anything, he goes anywhere, he speaks to anybody, do it anyhow, buy me a newspaper, any paper...
Anyway, that's the way it is.
(As I spent some time explaining this to you, acknowledging reading it would have been nice.)

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Forum > English only


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