Posts Tagged ‘triple negatives’

Double, triple and quadruple negatives

Thursday, December 15th, 2011

I found my all-time favorite example of a double negative about 15 years ago in the sports section of a newspaper. A Cal Berkeley alumnus had just been traded to an NBA basketball team that had the worst record in the league. Asked about his team’s chances in the upcoming year, he was quoted as saying, “We are going to turn this team around 360 degrees.” Although this is not a double negative, it is a great example of a statement that has the same effect. This alumnus meant to turn the team around 180 degrees. He doubled the negation unintentionally, ignorantly setting the team on the same dismal path as the year before. I was not happy that my alma mater had not produced a basketball player who was not illiterate.