Archive for Misnegation

Losing the battle

Elizabeth Wydra, "Chief Justice John Roberts is under tremendous pressure", CNN 5/10/2019:

As the Supreme Court strives to finish its work by the end of June — deciding on issues from the future of the census to the ability of politicians to draw their own legislative districts — the justices labor in their chambers at a particularly fraught moment in our country's history. The pressure may be greatest on Chief Justice John Roberts.

Try as he might — and some might question whether he is trying hard enough lately — Roberts is in danger of losing his battle to keep most Americans from seeing the court he leads as divorced from politics.

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New twist on a classic misnegation

Jared Dubin, "The NBA's Other Offensive Revolution: Never Turning The Ball Over", FiveThirtyEight 3/14/2018 [emphasis added]:

We're in a golden age for NBA offense. Teams are scoring 110.1 points per 100 possessions during the 2018-19 season, according to — a full 1.3 points per 100 possessions more than the previous high of 108.8, which was set two years ago.

This is largely — and rightly — credited to the boom in 3-point attempts. […]

But while the genesis of the other offensive changes can be neatly traced, the decline in turnovers is a bit more puzzling. […]

Regardless of why, the impact of turnovers cannot be undersold. […] You can't score if you don't have the ball.

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From today's Financial Times:

I think they meant "anti-anti-Semitism ceremony".

[h.t. Donald Clarke]

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Hypothetical misnegation

From Eoin Ryan:

I noticed this in an article on, "Charter schools are pushing public education to the breaking point: Charters are driving Boston's public education system to the financial brink" by Jeff Bryant, published on Friday, February 8.

The overall tenor of the piece, as the headline and subhead make clear, is that the way charter schools are funded in Massachussetts is sucking funding from public schools, with bad consequences throughout the state and especially in Boston. So, per the article, the charter school situation is not good in Massachussetts:

This is not to say Massachusetts might be doing a better job of managing the charter industry than any other state. Charters in Massachusetts are more regulated than they are in most other states, and their numbers are capped…

Or so says the text. But I think this should be "[]his is not to say MA might not be doing a better job", with a second "not". The construction with two "not"s is hard to parse (maybe I'm wrong that there should be a second "not"!), perhaps leading to a sort of "edito" based on the thought that so many "not"s can't be right, but the trickiness seems partly related to the presence of the "might".

What do you think?

(For more  than no one doesn't want to read about misnegation, see here.)

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Misnegation never fails to disappoint

Heather Stewart, "Brexit: as parliament returns to work, what happens now?", The Guardian 1/6/2019:

Labour is likely to table a vote of no confidence in the government, though it is unclear whether it would do so immediately – and even less unclear whether it could win it.

[h/t Stan Carey]

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"[He] is not going to not accept money"

Nicholas Fandos, "White House Budget Chief Says Shutdown May Extend Into January", NYT 12/23/2018:

Mr. Mulvaney outright rejected Mr. Durbin's offer. "The president is not going to not accept money for a border wall," he said.

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Misnegation dis-publication

Monique Friedlander, "'It's a nightmare and not something anyone wants to happen!' Roxy Jacenko reveals the fatal error which forced her to scrap new book", Daily Mail 11/18/2018:

Roxy Jacenko's fourth literary work, Roxy's Little Black Book of Tips & Tricks is set to hit shelves in less than two weeks.

But the 38-year-old suffered a less-than-ideal set-back in recent months thanks to a rather unfortunate typo that appeared in the book's first print-run.

According to The Daily Telegraph on Sunday, a quote by KIIS FM's Jackie 'O' Henderson was misprinted to read, 'Roxy never fails to disappoint…', rather than: 'Roxy never fails to deliver.'

'Without question it's a nightmare and not something anyone wants to happen,' Roxy told the publication, claiming that six proofreaders from publisher Allen & Unwin managed to miss the error before the book went to print.

Six proofreaders? Anyhow, perhaps we should say that they didn't fail to miss it.

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Their inability not to comprehend that they are incapable

Jonathan Bouquet, "May I have a word… about toolkits, real and metaphorical", The Observer 10/14/2018 [emphasis added]:

No one, least of all my family and close friends, would deny that I am somewhat hidebound, stuck up to my nethers in mud. I mean, don't get me started on the subject of mobile phones and the inability of so many of their owners not to comprehend that they are incapable of walking and using these devices at the same time.

Thus, when I see the word toolkit, it conjures up images of the contents of a red cantilevered box, containing hammers, various screwdrivers, bradawl, spanners (again various), sundry nails, screws and broken electric saw blades (no, I don't know why either), and assorted oddly shaped pieces of plastic that probably came from a long-discarded Black & Decker Workmate.

Alas, no longer. A recent report, on parents who won't let their sons wear a skirt to school possibly being referred to social services, talked of "Brighton and Hove city council's 'trans inclusion schools toolkit'".

Now, without wishing to get involved in the tangled issue of gender identity, I would just like to stick my crusty old arm over the parapet and stand up for toolkit's proper meaning. Brighton and Hove council could just as easily have used the word advice and it would have had exactly the same meaning.

Or, to put it another way, ain't no toolkit without no hammers.

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For, against, whatever…

A tweet for the misnegation archive:

This one has the unusual property of being purely lexical, with no explicit negations at all.

[h/t Donald Clarke]


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Barring no misnegations

Seung Min Kim, John Wagner, and Josh Dawsey, "Kavanaugh vote: Senate Republican leaders agree to new FBI background investigation of Kavanaugh", WaPo 9/28/2018 [emphasis added]:

President Trump on Friday ordered the FBI to reopen the investigation of Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh's background, a stunning turnaround in an emotional battle over sexual assault allegations that has shaken the Senate and reverberated across the country.
Late Friday, by voice vote, the Senate took an initial step to move ahead on the nomination. Barring no major revelations from the FBI, the Senate could vote on confirming Kavanaugh next weekend, days after the start of the high court's session.

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An irreplaceable void joins the much-needed gaps

In purely linguistic terms, of course. Paul Kane, "'Kind of an irreplaceable void': GOP wonders if anyone can seize the McCain mantle", WaPo 8/28/2018:

Sen. Lindsey O. Graham tackled a question that many have asked since John McCain's death Saturday: Who will fill the role of traditional conservative, particularly on national security, that has been held by the Arizona Republican for the past three decades? […]

"There's no doubt he's leaving a void, kind of an irreplaceable void," Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) said Tuesday.

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Yet more double negative jokes

Following up on "Clarification by misnegation" and "More double negative jokes", here are some tweets I missed:

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Clarification by misnegation: The view from pragmatics (updated and semi-retracted)

In a comment on Mark Liberman's post "Clarification by misnegation", Stephen Hart makes a point that the rest of us have missed (or at least haven't raised), and that deserves wider attention:

I may be missing something here.

Slightly restated, Trump said, originally:
US Intelligence says it is Russia. Putin says it isn't Russia.
I don't see any reason why it would be Russia.
(What would Russia have to gain?)

The new statement seems to be:

US Intelligence says it is Russia. Putin says it isn't Russia.
I don't see any reason why it wouldn't be Russia.
(Everybody does it.)

Update: Now that I think about this, I may have misinterpreted the point of this comment, in which case the point it makes was not something others have missed and that deserves wider attention, but rather was something of a restatement of the obvious. My initial impulse was to delete the post, but on reflection I'm leaving it up, as an object lesson in the way that this multiple-negation stuff can make your head spin.

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