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I didn't do nothing or I did nothing ? Options
Adriaticus
Posted: Tuesday, June 14, 2011 3:18:16 AM
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I've been taught :

I did nothing
I didn't do anything

not to use a double negative form

However I often heard on TV series or on spoken english some exceptions, like "I didn't do nothing".

Is that correct? Anybody could explain me the rule?
thanks
Seth
Posted: Tuesday, June 14, 2011 4:00:20 AM
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The "I didn't do nothing" is just the informal for "I didn't do anything"

They also tend to use "I ain't did nothing" which has the same meaning
milinad
Posted: Tuesday, June 14, 2011 4:09:56 AM
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Adriaticus wrote:
I've been taught :

I did nothing
I didn't do anything

not to use a double negative form

However I often heard on TV series or on spoken english some exceptions, like "I didn't do nothing".

Is that correct? Anybody could explain me the rule?
thanks



What you have been taught is correct. In formal English you would not use it.

'I didn't do nothing' would mean exactly opposite i.e. I did something. However colloquially this form is used widely.
thar
Posted: Tuesday, June 14, 2011 4:45:54 AM

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In TV series people tend to murder people too, which I am sure you were also taught not to do!!

Seriously, colloquial or slang speech does use 'wrong' language like
I didn't do nothing,
They was here but they is gone now;
I ain't no thief
etc

YOu will find the characters using this will be using it in informal speech, or be uneducated. The characters of lawyers etc, educated people and people in professional situations would never use no double negative!! (joke!)
Ravindra
Posted: Tuesday, June 14, 2011 10:07:34 AM
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Perhaps a pun! Or to induce confusion.

Trust me. I never did nothing like that.

In a war of words silence is the best weapon.
Adriaticus
Posted: Wednesday, June 15, 2011 8:58:44 AM
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thar wrote:
In TV series people tend to murder people too, which I am sure you were also taught not to do!!



I noticed that...first victim is the English language Anxious
sisikou
Posted: Wednesday, June 15, 2011 10:35:30 AM
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Regarding double negative, here's a real dialogue between a child and mom.

Child: Nobody don't like me.
Mother: No, say "nobody likes me." (Instead of comforting the child~lol~)
Child: Nobody don't like me.
(repeated 8 times)
Mother(now exasperated): Now listen carefully! Say, "Nobody likes me."
Child: Oh! Nobody don't likes me.

Notice that the child does not form negative sentences in the same way the adult does.
3togo
Posted: Wednesday, May 2, 2012 2:31:34 PM
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It all depends on context. If the tone of the sentence be construed as a statement, "I didn't do nothing" means
"I did something". However if the speaker presented it as a question like "I didn't do nothing(, did I?)", then it means
"I didn't( do it)".
Vismay Patel
Posted: Wednesday, March 25, 2015 2:07:47 PM
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It's an American free style english yo.
tunaafi
Posted: Wednesday, March 25, 2015 2:15:54 PM

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Vismay Patel wrote:
It's an American free style English.


It's not uncommon in the informal British English of some native speakers.
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Wednesday, March 25, 2015 2:32:25 PM

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tunaafi wrote:
Vismay Patel wrote:
It's an American free style English.


It's not uncommon in the informal British English of some native speakers.


Yes - it is not that one would never hear it (one will sometimes hear it)
In fact, in some older versions of modern English, it was considered correct grammar.

However, in modern English, it is only considered correct when it means a positive (as in my first sentence above, or tunaafi's "It's not uncommon . . .".

Personally, I would not use a double negative to mean a negative in even the most informal circumstances - it just doesn't make sense to me. It might use it to deliberately sound 'stupid' or 'dumb' as a joke.
tunaafi
Posted: Wednesday, March 25, 2015 2:52:19 PM

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Drag0nspeaker wrote:
Personally, I would not use a double negative to mean a negative in even the most informal circumstances - it just doesn't make sense to me. It might use it to deliberately sound 'stupid' or 'dumb' as a joke.


I wouldn't not do nuffink like that neever.

Not nohow. I ain't stoopid.


hedy mmm
Posted: Monday, March 30, 2015 10:41:34 AM

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"I didn't do nothing" means you did something and it is NOT informal speech for "I didn't do anything", as suggested by seth. Shame on you
tunaafi
Posted: Monday, March 30, 2015 10:58:22 AM

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hedy mmm wrote:
"I didn't do nothing" means you did something and it is NOT informal speech for "I didn't do anything", as suggested by seth. Shame on you


As a teacher in a couple of inner-city schools in England on the 1970s and 1980s, I heard young people saying things like that every day.
tunaafi
Posted: Monday, March 30, 2015 11:12:34 AM

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Huddleston & Pullum note inThe Cambridge Grammar of the English Language (2001.846-7):

In many dialects, ranging from Cockney (spoken in the East End of London, England) to African American Vernacular English (AAVE, formerly known as Black English Vernacular, spoken in segregated African American communities in the USA), the absolute negators no, no one, nothing, etc are use in negative clauses where the standard dialect has the NPIs any, anyone, anything, etc:

Non-Standard: He didn't say nothin' - Standard: He didn't say anything.

[...]

Those who claim that negative concord is evidence of ignorance and illiteracy are wrong; it is a regular and widespread feature of non-standard dialects of English across the world. Someone who thinks the song title I can't get no satisfaction means "It is impossible for me to lack satisfaction" does not know English.
karunadas
Posted: Monday, March 30, 2015 12:46:15 PM

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Think
NKM
Posted: Monday, March 30, 2015 11:15:02 PM

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Another song title: "Ain't No Sunshine Since You're Gone" --
- Obviously not "standard" English, but impossible to misconstrue (except, possibly, to a non-native speaker or a superlatively pedantic purist.)

The "double negative" rule is essential to certain mathematical processes, but it's little more than a formality in terms of grammar. Some other languages accept (and sometimes require) double-negative forms as standard.

I normally prefer to speak and write standard English, but sometimes it's easier to make a point by switching to a less formal pattern.

════════════════════════════════════════════════

Sometimes it just don't make no nevermind!


Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Wednesday, April 1, 2015 2:47:09 PM

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NKM wrote:

Sometimes it just don't make no nevermind!

Applause

Sometimes it really is the best, and correct, formation.

"Why did you just do nothing while they robbed the shop?"
"I didn't do nothing - I called the police!"


To me, that sounds more like a proper reply (as it reflects and counters the negative question).
"I did do something - I called the police." seems 'out of balance' somehow.
Saber.A
Posted: Thursday, April 2, 2015 10:48:10 AM
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good explanations
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