Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Beware of the Double Negation

I was researching on the intricate complexities involved in drafting policies and had delved into the subject of double negations. You know, double negations like:

Such ideas are not uncommon.
She was not unkind to me.
His claim was not without merit.

Double negation ranks high in the English teachers' list of solecisms and I do believe your brain actually does a double take when you encounter a double negation. It is like "wait a minute... not.. unkind. Oh. That means... kind. Oh yes." So it takes probably an addition one second to decipher the thoughts. Leychey lah.

Interestingly, the rule holds that even-numbered negatives are affirmations, while odd-numbered negatives are still negatives. So, do note that when you are fervently trying to deny or reject something, uttering the lines of "No, no, a thousand times NO!", that actually totals up to a thousand and two No's. Oh, which means it is essentially an affirmation.

Next time you want to trick the person to say YES, just gek him until he cannot stand, and manipulate this loophole! Muahaha!

Chop-logic, they call it.


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