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Foundation misnegation

From Antonio Fortin: I’m re-reading Asimov's Foundation novels after nearly 35 years and I came across this example in Book 1, which just seems like a mess: “I don’t say, though,” added Barr, “that there aren’t cases where tech-men haven’t been bribed.” Obviously, the intended message is that there are cases where tech-men have been […]

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Another misnegation/miscomparison

From Breffni O'Rourke,  another example of the conceptual tangle created by the interaction of scalar comparison and (implicit) negation: Just another one of these. There's no outright negation, but it seems related – the implied negative of "only" interacting with the scalar comparison "more slowly". The arithmetic comes out with the wrong sign in any […]

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Vaccination misnegation

From this blog post: ICU beds are filled to capacity with unvaccinated COVID patients who are not vaccinated because they didn’t have access to immunization. They chose to be unvaccinated. A.L., who sent in the link, observes that "this seems like a particularly striking example, because the misnegated phrase ('not vaccinated because they didn’t have […]

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Athletic misnegation

"Can the Angels keep Shohei Ohtani? A payroll crisis looms in Los Angeles", 8/12/2021: Everything Shohei Ohtani has accomplished this summer is unprecedented: the high-end pitching and high-impact hitting, the takeover of the two days of All-Star events, the marketability. With a season résumé that looks like none other, he'll win the American League's Most […]

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Election misnegation

Here's another example for our long list of cases where smart people are either losing track of multiple negations, or applying a high-status form of negative concord in English. This one is from Jeremy Peters, "In Restricting Early Voting, the Right Sees a New ‘Center of Gravity’", NYT 3/19/2021: “We also took a look at […]

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Misnegation plus misaffirmation

From Annie Gottlieb: This kind of mistake is becoming a pandemic!This is a twofer!—misnegation AND the opposite of misnegation, whatever you call that—misaffirmation? On the rare occasions that his team actually trusts him in front of a camera, the presumptive democratic nominee never ceases to disappoint with his ability to — for lack of a […]

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1 day since big-font misnegation

A sign displayed at yesterday's congressional impeachment hearing: GOP adds new sign during the break — Manu Raju (@mkraju) November 21, 2019

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Misnegation harvest

Readers have recently sent two  links to examples where writers seem to have lost control of piled-up negatives.

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Another day, another misnegation

Thomas Friedman, "‘Trump’s Going to Get Re-elected, Isn’t He?’", NYT 7/16/2019 [emphasis added]: I’m struck at how many people have come up to me recently and said, “Trump’s going to get re-elected, isn’t he?” And in each case, when I drilled down to ask why, I bumped into the Democratic presidential debates in June. I […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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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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 […]

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