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azz
Posted: Sunday, November 22, 2020 5:16:24 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 5/15/2014
Posts: 388
Neurons: 4,040
a. Not everyone who is here knows anyone in your office.

I think (a) can have two different meanings:

1. Only some of the people who are here know everyone in your office.
2. Some of the people who are here don't know anyone in your office.

Am I right?

Many thanks.
thar
Posted: Sunday, November 22, 2020 8:13:02 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 7/8/2010
Posts: 23,388
Neurons: 94,875
You wouldn't say that, it is just not natural.

'Not everyone' is the group - ie some people but not all of the people.
It is not a negative, even though it includes 'not'. It means some people do. So you don't use 'anyone'.

"Everybody" knows someone here.


"Not everybody" knows someone here.
"Most people" know someone here.


"Nobody" knows anyone here.
thatenglishbloke
Posted: Monday, November 23, 2020 2:59:41 AM
Rank: Newbie

Joined: 11/16/2020
Posts: 26
Neurons: 245
azz wrote:
a. Not everyone who is here knows anyone in your office.

I think (a) can have two different meanings:

1. Only some of the people who are here know everyone in your office.
2. Some of the people who are here don't know anyone in your office.

Am I right?

Many thanks.


By analogy, may I cite a joke sentence I coined a few years back to use when leaving a social gathering. "I won't say it hasn't been fun!"

On the face of it, reasonable English, but in practice, it's not at all clear what I'm communicating there. By oddly juxtaposing negatives etc. we can obfuscate our intended meaning.
Consider this word salata; "The President said he thinks he certainly couldn't say definitely how we can surely decide, regarding how reliable the outcome of the election might be or otherwise, at this time." Now, do we think we know what that means?
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