(Not) not too crazy

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Tom Recht sent in a link to a story in N.Y. Magazine with the headline "Trump is not too crazy to fire the special prosecutor". His accompanying note suggested that

…the intended but not quite computable meaning is "it isn't the case that Trump isn't crazy enough to fire the special prosecutor".

Or, as the headline now reads, "Trump is Crazy Enough to Fire the Special Prosecutor".

The URL is still the original


As Tom notes, this is definitely one for the misnegation files — it combines a scalar predicate (here degree of craziness) with a threshold above or below which some predicate would hold (here firing the special prosecutor) and one or more negations.




  1. I said,

    June 13, 2017 @ 7:23 pm

    Again coming up with a convoluted apology for the negation… if he was too crazy (psychotic), he wouldn’t have the presence of mind to fire a special prosecutor and would be in a psychiatric wrad. The amount of crazy required needs to be crazy but to fall short of too crazy. Trump is not too crazy and thus incapable of firing the prosecutor, he is just regular crazy and therefore capable of firing the prosecutor.

  2. Steve Morrison said,

    June 13, 2017 @ 7:36 pm

    @I said:

    Your convoluted apology is crazy, but not crazy enough to be true!

  3. Gregory Kusnick said,

    June 14, 2017 @ 12:30 am

    I have to say I'm not too crazy about firing the special prosecutor.

  4. BZ said,

    June 15, 2017 @ 10:41 am

    I think it's more than a misnegtion because you cannot be too crazy to fire someone. Well, I guess you could be so crazy that you can't function on that level, but that's obviously not it. I suspect the interference between two different idioms, "not crazy enough to" and "not too crazy about" and somehow thinking that one is the negative of the other.

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