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stormie
04-07-2006, 05:23 PM
I've always used "as I said." But I'm seeing and hearing more and more people using "like I said." Which is correct? Or is it one of those phrases that are becoming more acceptable, like "You've got mail."

reph
04-07-2006, 09:38 PM
"Like I said" is grammatically incorrect but has been common in casual U.S. speech for at least 50 years.

stormie
04-09-2006, 01:45 AM
Thanks, reph.

janetbellinger
04-09-2006, 04:06 AM
The only thing is that in a novel, it will make the character's speech sound slangy, which is okay, if that's the effect you want.

bluejester12
04-09-2006, 07:16 AM
"Like I said" is grammatically incorrect but has been common in casual U.S. speech for at least 50 years.

I'll vouch for that statement.

Jamesaritchie
04-09-2006, 07:20 AM
It should be "As I said" for formal writing, and "as I said" for characters in fiction who are educated, or for narration where grammar counts. Otherwise, it should be "Like I said."

A. J. Luxton
04-09-2006, 08:05 PM
Hmmf. The above assumes that all educated people make the effort to speak in proper grammar. I certainly don't. My writing usually falls somewhere between textbook-proper and functionally appropriate. My speech, on the other hand, ranges from collegiate to working-class to complete goofball nonsense.

reph
04-09-2006, 09:41 PM
My speech...ranges from collegiate to working-class to complete goofball nonsense.
I had much the same thought but hadn't posted it yet. An educated person's speech varies with the situation. "Looks like it's gonna rain" would flunk you on a grammar test, but it's good enough around the house.

Jamesaritchie
04-10-2006, 08:16 AM
Hmmf. The above assumes that all educated people make the effort to speak in proper grammar. I certainly don't. My writing usually falls somewhere between textbook-proper and functionally appropriate. My speech, on the other hand, ranges from collegiate to working-class to complete goofball nonsense.


No, it assumes that in writing one of the only ways a writer has to show a character is educated is by his speech. Dialogue is never, ever realistic. That's a mistake many new writers make. Dialogue only reflects realism.

If you have an educated person speaking the same way as an uneducated person, rotsa ruck on getting anyone to buy that book. Most agents and editors will stop reading the first time it happens.

And, in all honesty, a great many educated people do, and should, speak considerably better than an uneducated person. If I spke teh same way the average person does, I'd go back to grade school immediately.

Even if true, which it probably isn't, do not try to tell a reader that the guy speaking like Joe the mechanic is a college professor, or that the lady speaking like the local waitress is a the editor of the local paper. It isn't believeable. Life does not have to be beliveable, but fiction always does.

A. J. Luxton
04-10-2006, 10:36 AM
If you have an educated person speaking the same way as an uneducated person, rotsa ruck on getting anyone to buy that book. Most agents and editors will stop reading the first time it happens.

1. This assumes there are but two ways to speak. "Like an educated person" and "like an uneducated person." There are many, many, many more than two speech patterns in English. I was pointing out that educated does not have to conform to a single, formal mode. There are as many different kinds of educated people as there are of people. Educated people can, in fact, be casual.

Ex.:

"Jenny, like I said, I don't really agree with your politics, but that was a fan-freakin'-tastic lecture on string theory!"

Maybe you just don't hang out with the same physics majors I do.


And, in all honesty, a great many educated people do, and should, speak considerably better than an uneducated person. If I spke teh same way the average person does, I'd go back to grade school immediately.

2. A great many educated people can always overwhelm a single uneducated person through sheer force of loudness. How will I know if they speak better? Pitting one against many is hardly a fair contest. ;)

(I don't normally nitpick so gratuitiously, but this IS the grammar forum and you are protesting that if you "spke (sic) teh (sic) same way the average person does, (you'd) go back to grade school immediately."

Um.

Kind of offensive to anyone who works in a day job where the object is communicating with people of all classes. If one is trying to give good customer service, and speaks in words one's customers will not understand, it shows that one is just educated enough to . . . lose one's job.

Heck, kind of cheeky at least to anyone who says, "Think it's gonna rain?" (Although the ultimate arbiter of language, time, seems to favor utility over propriety in every instance.)

And that whole "golden chain of being" thing, where the high classes must be high and the low classes must be low, is, uh, rather out of style)

ColoradoGuy
04-10-2006, 05:23 PM
My mother, strict grammarian that she was, always blamed the like/as adjective/adverb confusion on that old Winston cigarette jingle.

pdr
04-11-2006, 05:07 AM
It's your family who teach you to speak. You can choose to alter the way you speak but your family set the mould. If your family can speak complex grammatical English then you have a clear advantage, especially in literary activities and within our education systems as they now are.

Good simple grammatical English is understood by everyone, including English as a second language people, and is very useful for communicating with anyone.

If however you can or choose to use only idiomatic speech, which isn't always grammatically correct, all the time then you will have problems in communicating.

Strongbadia
04-12-2006, 02:18 AM
I've always used "as I said." But I'm seeing and hearing more and more people using "like I said." Which is correct? Or is it one of those phrases that are becoming more acceptable, like "You've got mail."

You shouldn't confuse written language with spoken language. The "grammars" are different. Writing has specific rules that were invented out of convention and necessity. This is one of the reasons why grammar confuses a lot of people. Many try to pin written grammar on spoken grammar and vice versa.
There is nothing grammatically incorrect with "like I said." Just as there isn't anything incorrect with splitting an infinitive, ending a sentence with a preposition, or using a double negative.

stormie
04-12-2006, 06:29 PM
There is nothing grammatically incorrect with "like I said." Just as there isn't anything incorrect with splitting an infinitive, ending a sentence with a preposition, or using a double negative.

You're right: nothing wrong with splitting an infinitive. That's an archaic grammar rule stemming from latin where you can't split an infinitive. Besides, when people try not to split an infinitive, it many times sounds stilted.

Okay, too, with ending with a preposition. Sometimes you can't get around it without sounding stilted. An editor changed one of my sentences once, taking out the preposition at the end of the article. It didn't work.

Using a double negative: well, two negatives make a positive. "I don't know nothing." Fine if you have character who speaks that way, otherwise, in an essay or spoken language, it doesn't seem to work.

When I posted the original question, I was asking about the written word, as in a story or essay. Or even postings on writer's boards. (I've been seeing a lot of "like I said." But as reph said, it's being used so much, that it's now acceptable like "You've got....")

Thanks to all for your discussion on this!

Strongbadia
04-12-2006, 07:39 PM
Using a double negative: well, two negatives make a positive. "I don't know nothing." Fine if you have character who speaks that way, otherwise, in an essay or spoken language, it doesn't seem to work.!

Two negatives make a positive in math, not in language. English is a Germanic language and more negations should be used to strengthen someone's "no" answer. This rule is also one that was adopted from Latin. This comes from a man by the name of Robert Lowth.

It is not a real rule of English grammar. You will never in your life say "I don't want no more bread" and someone will give you bread thinking that you must have meant you wanted more. The reason we use double negatives is because they are a natural part of the language.

I am not saying that you should use them in an essay or writing; but realize it is a rule that people adhere to for no reason.

CaroGirl
04-12-2006, 09:29 PM
I beg to differ on your point that English is a Germanic language. It is not, at least not exclusively. While English is a ďsister languageĒ to German, for example water, German is hardly its only source. English also comes from Latin, from which French, Italian and Spanish are derived, so it is also a romance language. From whatever language you wish to argue that English is derived, double negatives are still grammatically incorrect, whether written or spoken, and so are many other idiomatic manners of speech that people use. Donít make it right, do it? Oh, and two negatives do make a positive in English, and make the speaker sound uneducated to boot.

Strongbadia
04-12-2006, 10:56 PM
I beg to differ on your point that English is a Germanic language. It is not, at least not exclusively. While English is a ďsister languageĒ to German, for example water, German is hardly its only source. English also comes from Latin, from which French, Italian and Spanish are derived, so it is also a romance language. From whatever language you wish to argue that English is derived, double negatives are still grammatically incorrect, whether written or spoken, and so are many other idiomatic manners of speech that people use. Donít make it right, do it? Oh, and two negatives do make a positive in English, and make the speaker sound uneducated to boot.

Where do you get your information?

English is a Germanic language in the sense that it is from that family of languages. It is not a romance language. The morphology isn't even close for one thing. It isn't close to Latin, either - even though people tried to make its rules similar to Latin's.

Two negative never ever make a positive in speech. The reason you think people sound uneducated when they used double negatives is because that rule was implemented when the new rich of the industrial revolution started sending their children better schools because they had money. It became on of the markers to speak correctly, not because it is inherent in the language.

Plus if it is a romance language, where you can use double negative, then you prove my point.

Sorry, but you couldn't possibly be more incorrect.

CaroGirl
04-12-2006, 11:14 PM
Okay, yes, English is considered a Germanic language, and is not a romance language, but it was strongly, and almost equally, influenced by the Normans, who spoke Norman, which is closely related to French. English belongs to the western subbranch of the Germanic branch of the Indo-European family of languages.

All that aside, I agree that no language, including English, is static, and does (and indeed must) change. However, I do not agree that aspects of it, like the double negative or the interchanging of fewer and less, are in a position to become subsumed. Simply because a cross-section of the English-speaking population, which is by no means even half, chooses to use these idiomatic speech forms does not mean that the language is about to absorb such changes as correct (and yes, there is a right way and wrong way to both write and speak the language). It's simply not wide-spread enough and there are too many detractors who disagree with it.

Strongbadia
04-12-2006, 11:27 PM
Okay, yes, English is considered a Germanic language, and is not a romance language, but it was strongly, and almost equally, influenced by the Normans, who spoke Norman, which is closely related to French. English belongs to the western subbranch of the Germanic branch of the Indo-European family of languages.

All that aside, I agree that no language, including English, is static, and does (and indeed must) change. However, I do not agree that aspects of it, like the double negative or the interchanging of fewer and less, are in a position to become subsumed. Simply because a cross-section of the English-speaking population, which is by no means even half, chooses to use these idiomatic speech forms does not mean that the language is about to absorb such changes as correct (and yes, there is a right way and wrong way to both write and speak the language). It's simply not wide-spread enough and there are too many detractors who disagree with it.



Fewer and less are on a different scale than double negatives.

You are right in the sense that there is a right and wrong way to write and speak. My only point is that the double negative rule is crap because there is nothing inherent in the words or the syntax that make it not possible or not comprehensible. It is an erudite, urbane, social rule.
I don't really think they should be used liberally or that we should let the language just erode. Otherwise, we would all start asking "Where you at?" and we would get our "smile on" like the commercials tell us to do.

Yes, double negatives are wrong. But they are wrong for social reasons not grammatical ones.

CaroGirl
04-12-2006, 11:44 PM
But why do you distinguish between social reasons vs. grammatical reasons? Not every grammatical convention or rule can be traced to the origin of a language, nor should it be. Social convention often becomes grammatical convention. Who would have thought, 20 years ago, that the word access would ever be used as a verb? But the ubiquity of computers in our society led to access being universally accepted as a verb in English. Voila: changing grammar in action.

Simply because you can't trace the use of the double negative, or, more accurately the proscription against it, to a solid grammar rule that comes from some other language from which English derives, doesn't make the double negative any less a grammar issue. Double negative are wrong for English grammar reasons. I'm really glad, however, that we agree that the double negative is, in fact, wrong.

Strongbadia
04-13-2006, 01:37 AM
But why do you distinguish between social reasons vs. grammatical reasons? Not every grammatical convention or rule can be traced to the origin of a language, nor should it be. Social convention often becomes grammatical convention. Who would have thought, 20 years ago, that the word access would ever be used as a verb? But the ubiquity of computers in our society led to access being universally accepted as a verb in English. Voila: changing grammar in action.

Simply because you can't trace the use of the double negative, or, more accurately the proscription against it, to a solid grammar rule that comes from some other language from which English derives, doesn't make the double negative any less a grammar issue. Double negative are wrong for English grammar reasons. I'm really glad, however, that we agree that the double negative is, in fact, wrong.


But one can trace the origins of the double negative. In fact, it has been traced. The reality that words can change parts of speech isn't anything new or exciting. There are really only a couple of parts of speech anyway- nominal and verbal. You can plot on a contiuim what parts of speech are more "verby" or which ones are more "nouny."

Words can change easily. Facsimile is a noun. It was clipped to "fax." Not the clipped version is a noun and a verb. Table is a noun and by a zero morph it becomes a verb - i.e. table an idea.

My point is that multiple negation is possible and logical in English. The double negative is common in medieval English literature.

There is nothing wrong with the double negative based upon the rules of the language - the way the language really operates. It is a social rule, rather than one that breaks a grammatical rule.

There is no reason why any one can never have multiple negations. For certain contructions and distinctive meanings, one can't not avoid it if one wants to keep the subtle meaning of the sentence.

I add the following for clarification:

http://www.americandialect.org/americandialectarchives/nov97429.html

Date: Mon, 17 Nov 1997 08:08:30 -0500

From: Robert Ness ness[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]DICKINSON.EDU

Subject: Re: Double Negatives



Lowth indeed wrote "Two Negatives in English destroy one another, or are

equivalent to an Affirmative," but he was pre- and- proscribing here, not

describing. "It is not the Language, but the Practice that is at fault,"

as he wrote in the Preface to his Grammar (1762).On Sun, 16 Nov

1997, Kusujiro Miyoshi wrote:



From: Fumiaki Ushio, Tokyo (kw900325[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]s.soka.ac.jp)



It might be of some help to remember the remarks by Robert Lowth.

He was a grammarian in the eighteenth century, that is, 'the age of

reason,' and I believe he was the first who said in a decisive manner

that double negatives were affirmative. In the period of OE, as well

as in that of ME, it was custom for the people that double negatives,

or I'd say even triple negatives, just intensified negation, if I

remember correctly. I believe double negatives gradually came to be

accepted as affirmative between 1500 to 1650.



Regards.

http://www.grammardoctor.com/page3.htm

"The rule about double negatives is not a natural English rule. It was devised by an amateur (don't try this at home) eighteenth-century grammarian named Robert Lowth. In his 1762 book, he reasoned that in language, as in mathematics, two negatives make a positive. "

http://homepage.mac.com/hempelma/engl227/ulsiv1.html
Double Negatives

The double negative ``rule'' was invented by Robert Lowth, a British priest, who eventually became the bishop of London. In his book, Short Introduction to English Grammar (1762), he states the rule that two negatives affirm (I am not unaware = I am aware); see for more information. Lowth didn't like the fact that English, a Germanic language, didn't look like Latin, which was considered the most clear and logical language.


The ``rule'' that two negatives equal a positive is not true. English has always had double negatives. Lowth's grammar enjoyed enormous success, but even still, his rule never made it past written English. Double and triple negatives are found in spoken English, but they are not tolerated in written English, which is typically more formal.

On occasion, even in written English , we use double negatives that do not affirm. The sentence, ``He couldn't sleep, even with a sedative'' has the same meaning as ``He couldn't sleep, not even with a sedative.'' In the second sentence, the second ``not'' reinforces the first. In other words, we use two negatives and the sentence does not affirm, thus showing that Lowth's rule does not always work.

In some cases, Lowth's rule must be broken to obtain a grammatically correct sentence. If the sentence ``No one thought so, not even you'' is changed to read ``No one thought so, even you,'' it creates a weird sentence. The two negatives are necessary for the sentence to be correct, and yet the two negations do not affirm. In essence, the double negative rule doesn't make sense historically, and it doesn't always apply where it should. Rather, this rule is an issue of social class and good manners. If you follow this rule, you belong to the ``educated'' people.

http://nutsandbolts.washcoll.edu/topten.html

An example: double negatives as a way of emphasizing negation have a long history in spoken and written English stretching back to the time of Chaucer. But in the 18th century classically-oriented grammarians, aware that in Latin double negatives cancel out, applied the same rule to English: "Two negatives in English destroy one another, or are equivalent to an affirmative" (Robert Lowth, A Short Introduction to English Grammar, 1762). The grammarians have driven the poor old double negative into the gutter. It is not recommended for formal writing.

reph
04-13-2006, 02:09 AM
A discussion of double negatives doesn't make sense without distinctions among kinds of negatives. Two negatives do make a positive in "I am not unaware." They don't make a positive in "I'll never give up, not ever."

Standard English doesn't use double negatives (in the simpler sense of negatives: "I don't want no junk mail" ), as French and Spanish do, but it comes close in some uses of "any" and "either."

Strongbadia
04-13-2006, 02:15 AM
A discussion of double negatives doesn't make sense without distinctions among kinds of negatives. Two negatives do make a positive in "I am not unaware." They don't make a positive in "I'll never give up, not ever."

Standard English doesn't use double negatives (in the simpler sense of negatives: "I don't want no junk mail" ), as French and Spanish do, but it comes close in some uses of "any" and "either."

Yes, if you count "I am not unaware" as a positive statement, then I do stand corrected. I wasn't counting those constructions as positive. So, thank you for pointing that out to me.

Of course standard English doesn't use double negatives - I was trying to show how arbitrary and manufactured the rule is.

reph
04-13-2006, 02:18 AM
Who would have thought, 20 years ago, that the word access would ever be used as a verb? But the ubiquity of computers in our society led to access being universally accepted as a verb in English.Ack! Ack! Cough, spit! If the universe includes me, then "access" is not universally accepted as a verb. It still looks wrong. I guess you can tell I was around before "access" began moonlighting as a new part of speech. I don't accept "impact" as a verb, either.

I can't be the only one to deny access to "access." I fairly often see "gain access to" in documents I had nothing to do with. Some writer or editor must have used that phrase deliberately, in preference to "access" alone.

reph
04-13-2006, 02:24 AM
Of course standard English doesn't use double negatives - I was trying to show how arbitrary and manufactured the rule is.Well, rules are made up by people. Are you proposing that some rules are arbitrary and others are natural? Let's see an example of a grammatical rule that grew organically and couldn't have been otherwise.

Strongbadia
04-13-2006, 02:52 AM
I am not proposing it, I am insisting on it.

The general morphological structure of English is something that evolved and was not manufactured. For instance, we add -es morpheme to make some plurals and not others because of how we pronounce the words in our mouths.

-s is added to car because the post-vocalic r makes it easy to pronounce the sss sound at the end. we add -es to cheese because the "s" in cheese actually has a "z" sound. It is voiced by our vocal folds and we pronounce the word"

ch ee zz uhz. (I do not have IPA fonts to write it correctly) The unaccented second syllable gets a schwa. This happens in almost all English words. It is a morphological rule to say "uhz". The graphical rule was created to show the difference . . .that one was more manufactured.

The morpheme in- is used to show "not." (As in the word "incredible." etc

However, we use im- for impossible because it is easier to pronounce the P after an M rather than an N sound.

The reason flammable and inflammable mean the same thing is because the word was used with the Military to warn soldiers about the possibility of blowing up. Most of them mistakenly thought the in- meant not and they smoked around the boxes, containers and so on. Consequently, they blew themselves up. They then started marking the boxes flammable in order to avoid confusion. The fact that the in- is present in inflammable is just a coincidence.

Granted, I am talking about how phonology changes morphology. Those are both part of the grammar of English. Most of the things you are looking at are part of the syntax, but it is really difficult to separate phonology, morphology, pragmatics, and semantics from syntax.

CaroGirl
04-13-2006, 03:02 AM
Ack! Ack! Cough, spit! If the universe includes me, then "access" is not universally accepted as a verb. It still looks wrong. I guess you can tell I was around before "access" began moonlighting as a new part of speech. I don't accept "impact" as a verb, either.

I can't be the only one to deny access to "access." I fairly often see "gain access to" in documents I had nothing to do with. Some writer or editor must have used that phrase deliberately, in preference to "access" alone.
LOL! I don't like it either, but I've become used to it in my career. As in:

To access the files, click the red icon.

Saying: To gain access to the files, click the red icon, sounds insanely weird, plus it's misleading. You don't "gain access" to the files in this sense, you're merely opening the folder in which the files reside. Access as a verb, in this context, has its own particular meaning, and no other word, or construction of words, can substitute.

Sorry, man. Whattaya gonna do, eh?

reph
04-13-2006, 03:04 AM
Strongbadia, your examples have mostly to do with pronunciation. What about purely grammatical rules? Are there any that are more than arbitrary conventions?

English has copulative verbs; Russian doesn't. English uses different forms for singular and plural nouns, most of the time; Chinese doesn't. English has a possessive ending; in Spanish, you denote possession by using a prepositional phrase. Is there something necessary about these features of English, or do they exist only because they developed historically and were practiced by speakers and writers?

reph
04-13-2006, 03:13 AM
You don't "gain access" to the files in this sense, you're merely opening the folder in which the files reside. Access as a verb, in this context, has its own particular meaning, and no other word, or construction of words, can substitute.I haven't worked in such a computer-intensive field as to develop a sense of "access" as a verb with no synonyms. To view the files? To reach the files? To retrieve the files? To find the files? To open the folder that contains the files?

Would you say "To access the letter from your mother, open the envelope it came in?" This seems parallel to the file-folder situation.

Strongbadia
04-13-2006, 03:25 AM
Strongbadia, your examples have mostly to do with pronunciation. What about purely grammatical rules? Are there any that are more than arbitrary conventions?

English has copulative verbs; Russian doesn't. English uses different forms for singular and plural nouns, most of the time; Chinese doesn't. English has a possessive ending; in Spanish, you denote possession by using a prepositional phrase. Is there something necessary about these features of English, or do they exist only because they developed historically and were practiced by speakers and writers?

Pronunciation?
No, they have to do with phonology, morphology, and phonetics . . . and yes, they have a lot to do with grammar.

If you want to talk about other languages, then that is fine. We know that the morphology of Spanish includes the subject while English does not.

Hablo = I speak. (The subject is contained in the -o and the other endings respectively.)

English does not have a future tense. we have will or shall + the verb. When something is tensed then the meaning is contained in the ending. -ed = in the past. I walked.

One can analyze and dissect any grammatical rule. Most of them, have been figured out. The forced particle hop, has not.

She stood up John.

She stood John up.

She stood him up.

*She stood up him.

If a pronoun can replace a noun, then there shouldn't be any reason why the last sentence is not possible. Yet, unless it is used in speech as a diectical pointer for emphasis, then it is not possible.

What I am saying is this: Some rules evolve and some were fabricated by the bourgeoisie etc. The rules that stem from pronunciation are not arbitrary as such. The significance of the linguistic sign is arbitrary, and the spelling of those signs is almost arbitrary too. (Especially when one considers the great vowel shift in English.) Some of these things were invented because of the invention of standardized print. The Romans didn't use periods or spaces.

The double negative rule, the split infinitive rule, the ending sentences with a preposition rule, the rules that state AAVE is no grammatical - those rules were all fabricated and they did not evolve.

reph
04-13-2006, 04:24 AM
Look, I just found another one! In my local weekly: "In November, she was arrested for trespassing onto a US Army base in Georgia after she crawled beneath a wire fence to gain access to the site." This sentence shows evidence of a writer's having written "to access the site" and an editor's having added "gain" and "to."

I didn't see "gain access to" all over the place until "access" became popular as a verb.


...those rules were all fabricated and they did not evolve.Preposition at end Ė okay, that was a misguided attempt to graft Latin onto English. Double negatives, though, the simple ones like "I don't want no junk mail" Ė that rule doesn't seem arbitrary to me, or snobbish, or imposed by some ivory-tower type with lace cuffs and a large unearned income. The literal meaning of "want no" is "don't want," and the literal meaning of "don't want no" is "want some."

I just don't see class war lurking behind grammatical rules so easily as you do. Call it false consciousness if you like.

Strongbadia
04-13-2006, 04:35 AM
Double negatives, though, the simple ones like "I don't want no junk mail" Ė that rule doesn't seem arbitrary to me, or snobbish, or imposed by some ivory-tower type with lace cuffs and a large unearned income. The literal meaning of "want no" is "don't want," and the literal meaning of "don't want no" is "want some."

I just don't see class war lurking behind grammatical rules so easily as you do. Call it false consciousness if you like.

The literal meaning of "want no" is "don't want," and the literal meaning of "don't want no" is "want some."

How do you get "want some" out of "don't want no?" I do not want (no or any) X" I honestly do not see where you are getting that meaning.

Secondly, the class war existed and it was the reason for the double negative rule (Robert Lowth) I didn't fabricate or invent the research, I simply read it and it was traced back to Lowth. It wasn't something that was present in English until he decided to include the rule in a grammar book. I would hardly call Chaucer and Shakespeare incorrect and they used double negatives all the time. If it were a rule prior to Lowth how did those two educated men miss learning it?

reph
04-13-2006, 05:13 AM
The literal meaning of "want no" is "don't want," and the literal meaning of "don't want no" is "want some."

How do you get "want some" out of "don't want no?" I do not want (no or any) X" I honestly do not see where you are getting that meaning.I'm saying that the double-negative rule isn't arbitrary: it has logic going for it. "No" negates whatever it modifies. "No X" means "zero X."

Strongbadia
04-13-2006, 05:43 AM
I'm saying that the double-negative rule isn't arbitrary: it has logic going for it. "No" negates whatever it modifies. "No X" means "zero X."

No does not mean zero. Did you read the links I posted on this matter?

CaroGirl
04-13-2006, 05:52 AM
I haven't worked in such a computer-intensive field as to develop a sense of "access" as a verb with no synonyms. To view the files? To reach the files? To retrieve the files? To find the files? To open the folder that contains the files?

Would you say "To access the letter from your mother, open the envelope it came in?" This seems parallel to the file-folder situation.
Hey reph, having fun yet?

I agree with you and much prefer to see "gain access to" as opposed to "access" in everyday language. But computer lingo is ubiquitous, and access as a verb has crept into the vernacular, whether we wanted it to or not. There really is no other word. Most of the words you suggested mean something in computer-land, but not the same thing as what access as a verb has evolved to mean.


To view the files: this means that you open a file, are looking at it in a separate window, or are viewing it in a "viewer"
To reach the files: hmmm, reach has no meaning whatsoever in computer-land
To retrieve the files: this means to download a file from a source, or move a file from one place to another. In any case, it implies an action on a file.
To find the files: this means to run a search for a file
To open the folder that contains the files: is way too wordy and any tech editor (me included) would slash it and write access immediately
That was a good try, though!

reph
04-13-2006, 10:29 AM
No does not mean zero.
"We have no mayonnaise" means "The amount of mayonnaise we have is zero." How can you argue with that?

reph
04-13-2006, 10:51 AM
Hey reph, having fun yet?My inner obsessive-compulsive child thinks we're on a vacation at Disneyland. I'm not sure I agree, though.


There really is no other word. Most of the words you suggested mean something in computer-land, but not the same thing as what access as a verb has evolved to mean....

To reach the files: hmmm, reach has no meaning whatsoever in computer-land
Would "reach" have done the job if the first generation of programmers had adopted it instead of "access"? In nontechnical contexts, "reach" often works. I suspect that "access" (v.) means something close to "get to," as in the newspaper's sentence about the woman who protested at a military base, but I don't know enough about what computer people do with it.

CaroGirl
04-13-2006, 04:11 PM
Would "reach" have done the job if the first generation of programmers had adopted it instead of "access"?
Maybe. I can't think of any reason why reach wouldn't work just as well. Sadly, we'll never know.

Duncan J Macdonald
04-13-2006, 05:24 PM
Maybe. I can't think of any reason why reach wouldn't work just as well. Sadly, we'll never know.Access has the implied meaning of actually doing something with the contents of the thing you've accessed. Reaching stops short of performing any actions on the item (location in memory, place, thing, etc.) There is a significant difference between reaching a file and accessing it.

Strongbadia
04-13-2006, 10:18 PM
"We have no mayonnaise" means "The amount of mayonnaise we have is zero." How can you argue with that?

I don't have to argue with it. Of course, one can rewrite the meaning to mean zero by altering the sentence but that does not mean that each and every instance of "no" means zero.



"We don't have no mayonnaise."



Does this mean the amount of "haves" we have is zero and the amount of mayo we have is zero, therefore, we must have mayo? I beg to differ on that one.



"Would I like to go out with Paris Hilton?"



"No."



Are you saying that the meaning . . .the deep structure of this sentence . . .is that the amount of times that I have went out with Paris Hilton is zero or the amount of times that I would like to go out with her is zero? Because, based upon the above sentence there really isn't anyway to confirm that I have not already went out with her and that I just do not want to do so again.



If I use all of the mayo on my sandwiches that I was making for lunch, and we are looking to make another sandwich and I say, "We have no mayonnaise." It does not mean we have zero mayo because we have some on the sandwiches I just made. It means we are currently out in the jar I was using. It is all contextual - Pragmatics and semantics.

reph
04-13-2006, 11:00 PM
I don't have to argue with it. Of course, one can rewrite the meaning to mean zero by altering the sentence but that does not mean that each and every instance of "no" means zero.

"We don't have no mayonnaise."

Does this mean the amount of "haves" we have is zero and the amount of mayo we have is zero, therefore, we must have mayo? I beg to differ on that one.I didn't say each and every instance of "no" means zero. I was talking about one meaning of "no," the meaning that "no" has in "Yes, we have no bananas." That was the context, remember? "No" as an answer to a question about going out with Paris Hilton has a completely different meaning.

"The amount of 'haves' we have is zero" is a real head scratcher. No one proposed counting haves.

Strongbadia
04-13-2006, 11:53 PM
I I was talking about one meaning of "no," the meaning that "no" has in "Yes, we have no bananas." That was the context, remember? "proposed counting haves.

I do recall that, yes. And I am not questioning whether or not "We have no bananas" means we have zero. I am questioning that "We don't have no bananas" means that we do have bananas. I question the two negatives makes a positive assertion. I do not see the logic in it grammatically.

CaroGirl
04-14-2006, 12:09 AM
I do recall that, yes. And I am not questioning whether or not "We have no bananas" means we have zero. I am questioning that "We don't have no bananas" means that we do have bananas. I question the two negatives makes a positive assertion. I do not see the logic in it grammatically.
How about this conversation:

"Pat said we have no bananas."
"No bananas? Are you sure?"
"I looked and I didn't see any."
"Ah, they're right here. Pat was wrong; we don't have "no bananas" after all!"

I might be reaching just a little, but the possibility of such an exchange in English certainly does exist.

Strongbadia
04-14-2006, 12:18 AM
How about this conversation:

"Pat said we have no bananas."
"No bananas? Are you sure?"
"I looked and I didn't see any."
"Ah, they're right here. Pat was wrong; we don't have "no bananas" after all!"

I might be reaching just a little, but the possibility of such an exchange in English certainly does exist.

Very good and very true. I do not think you are stretching at all; however, the no bananas in your example is not the same as the first sentence.

"Pat said we have no bananas."
"Pat was wrong; we don't have "no bananas" after all!"

reph
04-14-2006, 01:42 AM
Very good and very true. I do not think you are stretching at all; however, the no bananas in your example is not the same as the first sentence.

"Pat said we have no bananas."
"Pat was wrong; we don't have "no bananas" after all!"How is "no bananas" in CaroGirl's last sentence not the same as "no bananas" in her first sentence? They look the same to me. "No bananas" in that context means "zero bananas." We're out of bananas.

Sometimes people provide a slightly different kind of example by talking like this:

"I have a terrible headache, and the committee meets tonight! What am I going to do?"

"Don't go to the meeting. Stay home in bed."

"I can't not go. I'm the chairman."

Here "I can't not go" means "I must go." This double negative makes a positive.

Strongbadia
04-14-2006, 02:09 AM
How is "no bananas" in CaroGirl's last sentence not the same as "no bananas" in her first sentence? They look the same to me. "No bananas" in that context means "zero bananas." We're out of bananas.

Sometimes people provide a slightly different kind of example by talking like this:

"I have a terrible headache, and the committee meets tonight! What am I going to do?"

"Don't go to the meeting. Stay home in bed."

"I can't not go. I'm the chairman."

Here "I can't not go" means "I must go." This double negative makes a positive.


Because the no bananas turns into a compound noun in her second example and it should be hyphenated.



Secondly, "I can't not go" and "I must go" do not have the same meaning. The end result may be the same, but the meaning is slightly different.



Besides, I am asking that you explain how "I don't want no bread" would mean that I want bread.

CaroGirl
04-14-2006, 03:51 AM
Besides, I am asking that you explain how "I don't want no bread" would mean that I want bread.
In exactly the same way as my previous banana example.

Parent to child: "Stop your whining or you won't get any bread."
"Aw, but Mum, I want bread."
"You'll get a plateful of no bread if you keep it up."
"But I don't want "no bread", I want some bread."

Strongbadia
04-14-2006, 04:03 AM
In exactly the same way as my previous banana example.

Parent to child: "Stop your whining or you won't get any bread."
"Aw, but Mum, I want bread."
"You'll get a plateful of no bread if you keep it up."
"But I don't want "no bread", I want some bread."

Have you noticed that you are adding the intonation that would be present in speech with your quotation marks and italics? Your sentences/utterances would not make sense unless you punctuate them in a way that illustrates your meaning. If you take your mechanics out, your sentences are not clear. If you can make that meaning work using syntax only and then you will have a case. We are talking about grammar, not mechanics.

reph
04-14-2006, 05:47 AM
Because the no bananas turns into a compound noun in her second example and it should be hyphenated.No, it shouldn't be hyphenated. That's no place for a hyphen. "No bananas" isn't a compound noun. It's an adjective and a noun. "No," the adjective, tells how many bananas.

First we had two bananas. I ate a banana. Then we had one banana. Then I ate another banana. Now we have no bananas.


Secondly, "I can't not go" and "I must go" do not have the same meaning. The end result may be the same, but the meaning is slightly different.The end result is that I have to go. What difference in meaning do you detect?

reph
04-14-2006, 05:58 AM
Have you noticed that you are adding the intonation that would be present in speech with your quotation marks and italics? Your sentences/utterances would not make sense unless you punctuate them in a way that illustrates your meaning.Try this:

"Early reports from the disaster area said that refugees in the tent city had food and water but no medicine. A Red Cross team traveled there to investigate and did not find that the refugees had no medicine."

This example is awkward but grammatical. Having no medicine is like having no bananas. The "no" tells the quantity: zero. The "not" in "did not find" negates the zero-medicine message. A positive statement is produced. The refugees had medicine.

Strongbadia
04-14-2006, 08:00 AM
No, it shouldn't be hyphenated. That's no place for a hyphen. "No bananas" isn't a compound noun. It's an adjective and a noun. "No," the adjective, tells how many bananas.

First we had two bananas. I ate a banana. Then we had one banana. Then I ate another banana. Now we have no bananas.

The end result is that I have to go. What difference in meaning do you detect?

I didn't say the hypen was making a compound noun. You can make compound adjectives. (Although, that was not my point by stating that.)

"You'll get a plateful of no bread if you keep it up."
"But I don't want "no bread", I want some bread."

You are forgetting anaphoric reference context. The no bread is referring to the "no bread" being the object of the preposition. Hence, the sentence is really saying:

"I donít want a plateful of no bread, I want a plateful of bread."

(And by the way, that is different than a plateful of "some bread," which implies less bread than the regular plateful.)

I deduce that it needs a hyphen (or some kind of punctuation) to clearly illustrate the anaphora. This would be done by intonation in speech, but it has to be done graphically in writing.

The reality of this is that you can write examples that include many sentences or you can write examples that include compound and compound-complex sentences and you will eventually create a context that will illustrate that two negatives make a positive in some way. Language is infinite. If you have enough space to work with, then you can probably come up with a situation that will make your theory correct. You cannot, however, write one simple sentence with two negations and make the meaning positive.

:Soapbox:
You further illustrate this with your second example:

A Red Cross team traveled there to investigate and did not find that the refugees had no medicine.

One, you are forgetting scope. Two, you have a THAT-clause at the end of that sentence. There are two subjects. The Red Cross team did not find and the refugeess had no medicine. I do not see how the first "did not" (which clearly negates the verb "find") has any scope over the refugees having anything. You are taking the presciptive double negative rule far too literally.
"I can't not go." implies that I have to go, but I do not want to. It is closer to I should go. It does not show an imperative that I absolutley have to go. "I must go" implies no other choice. Must is the strongest modal. You cannot get any stronger than must.

;)

reph
04-14-2006, 09:55 AM
I didn't say the hypen was making a compound noun.Right, the hyphen doesn't make a compound noun. You said, in post #46, "Because the no bananas turns into a compound noun in her second example and it should be hyphenated." I replied that "no bananas" doesn't turn into a compound noun and it shouldn't be hyphenated. That is, I contradicted you twice, on separate issues.


"But I don't want "no bread", I want some bread."

Hence, the sentence is really saying:

"I donít want a plateful of no bread, I want a plateful of bread."Yes! Exactly! By the conventions of standard English, "I don't want no bread" literally means "I want some bread." It doesn't mean "I don't want any bread." That's why the double negative in "I don't want no bread," the way people usually use it, is an error. That's what CaroGirl and I have been trying to tell you. I think you've got it!


I deduce that it needs a hyphen (or some kind of punctuation) to clearly illustrate the anaphora. This would be done by intonation in speech, but it has to be done graphically in writing.You could italicize "no." You couldn't play around with punctuation enough to get the intended effect and stay within the limits of punctuation orthodoxy.

Head nurse: Did you get the patient in Room 600 to eat anything?

Practical nurse: I tried. At breakfast, I got nowhere. He would eat no bread.

Head nurse: How about lunch?

Practical nurse: Lunch was better. He didn't eat no bread, but he didn't eat much bread, either.


You cannot, however, write one simple sentence with two negations and make the meaning positive.I've already done so. Look, here's the obvious thing that hasn't been mentioned. In standard English, we don't use "no" as an intensive to strengthen the idea of negation in negative sentences. We say "I don't want bread." Inserting "no" makes the sentence ungrammatical. If we want an intensive, we say "I don't want any bread." Why is "any" all right when "no" isn't? Only for historical reasons, as far as I know. The fact remains that "I don't want no bread" is incorrect in standard English.

Possibly this "no" is incorrect because we can also say "I want no bread," so that "I don't want no bread" is ambiguous.

In standard English, again, regardless of what other dialects and other languages do, "I want no bread" means "I don't want bread." (How much bread do I want? None.) If you add "don't" to "I want no bread," you negate the not-wanting-bread meaning. The trouble with "I don't want no bread" is that it could have been constructed by starting with "I want no bread" and adding a second negative, in the form of "don't." That's how it could mean "I want bread."

People say "I don't want no bread" when they're refusing bread, but that's an error if they're trying to speak standard English. You've often referred to AAVE, in which using "no" as an intensive is conventional. But AAVE is a creole. Didn't African-Americans adopt the double negative from white neighbors who used it as part of their dialect?


The Red Cross team did not find and the refugeess had no medicine. I do not see how the first "did not" (which clearly negates the verb "find") has any scope over the refugees having anything.Do you see that the sentence means the refugees had medicine? They were found to have medicine. One negative negates the other.


"I can't not go." implies that I have to go, but I do not want to. It is closer to I should go. It does not show an imperative that I absolutley have to go. "I must go" implies no other choice. Must is the strongest modal. You cannot get any stronger than must."Cannot" (can't) is very strong. I read it as an imperative, no weaker than "must" or "must not."

You've objected to every example offered. The examples seem perfectly valid to me.

Strongbadia
04-14-2006, 10:45 AM
Right, the hyphen doesn't make a compound noun. You said, in post #46, "Because the no bananas turns into a compound noun in her second example and it should be hyphenated." I replied that "no bananas" doesn't turn into a compound noun and it shouldn't be hyphenated. That is, I contradicted you twice, on separate issues.

I didnít recall that I had said that is was a compound noun. The sentence can be interpreted that way. As I said, parts of speech and other forms are very fluid depending upon their lexical function. (Although, you are right Ė it probably isnít best interpreted as a compound given the previous statement.)


Yes! Exactly! By the conventions of standard English, "I don't want no bread" literally means "I want some bread." It doesn't mean "I don't want any bread." That's why the double negative in "I don't want no bread," the way people usually use it, is an error. That's what CaroGirl and I have been trying to tell you. I think you've got it!

You have yet to explain how, "I donít want no bread" means that you do want bread. You are wrong on this issue. Despite the research I have posted, I cannot quite seem to get you to understand what I am saying. I think you should refer to my other post for the rest of the English argument about context.


In standard English, we don't use "no" as an intensive to strengthen the idea of negation in negative sentences.

I believe the other thread has this SAE argument in it. You couldnít possibly be more wrong on this subject. Exactly what grammarian from what University would you beleive if I gave you a title of a book to read? There are so many examples I could give.




But AAVE is a Creole. Didn't African-Americans adopt the double negative from white neighbors who used it as part of their dialect?

It isnít a Creole. It is a language. There isnít a difference between a dialect and a standard language. In fact, if you look at places in Europe where languages have been around a lot longer and have had more time to evolve, you can see places where one country has a dialect as their language and the neighboring country has that same language as a dialect. Belgium has examples of this.

One of the theories is that slaves adopted the double negative, but that has yet to be proven. A theory that is closer is that the lexifying language (i.e. English) gave the words while the substratum provided the grammar. Over time, divergence has caused much of AAVE that we know today. Of course, that is a very simplistic and truncated example I just gave.


Do you see that the sentence means the refugees had medicine?

Yes, but one negation has no bearing over the refugees having or not having anything. I thought that I said that.




"Cannot" (can't) is very strong. I read it as an imperative, no weaker than "must" or "must not." You've objected to every example offered. The examples seem perfectly valid to me.

Must is the strongest modal. Canít is strong but not the strongest. I didnít say your examples were invalid. Your examples just do not illustrate what you think they illustrate.

reph
04-14-2006, 11:00 AM
You have yet to explain how, "I donít want no bread" means that you do want bread. You are wrong on this issue.I have explained it several times, in several ways. I am right on this issue. I give up. If you don't see by now that "I want no bread" means I don't want bread, and "I don't want no bread" negates "I want no bread," the chances of my helping you see it by providing further explanations and further examples are diminishingly small.

I could reply similarly to your other points, but life's too short.

Strongbadia
04-14-2006, 11:06 AM
Correction: I do see what you are saying.

I am just trying to tell you that you are the one that is wrong on this issue because you are misinterpreting the sentence.

Here are some books that contain a veriety of information on what we are talking about. If anything, you should at least read the first link here. It is a very nice introduction to what I am saying.

Understanding Language Structure, Interaction, and Variation : An Introduction to Applied Linguistics and Sociolinguistics for Nonspecialists Attardo and Brown.



http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0472086863/qid=1144997319/sr=1-2/ref=sr_1_2/104-0948602-4597523?s=books&v=glance&n=283155


This one especially has a nice preview section of the first chapter that explains what we have been discussing.



Foundations of Cognitive Grammar: Descriptive Application Langacker

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0804738521/qid=1144997717/sr=2-1/ref=pd_bbs_b_2_1/104-0948602-4597523?s=books&v=glance&n=283155


The Language Instinct : How the Mind Creates Language Pinker

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0060958332/qid=1144997602/sr=2-2/ref=pd_bbs_b_2_2/104-0948602-4597523?s=books&v=glance&n=283155

Metaphors We Live By Lakoff and Johnson

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0226468011/qid=1144997663/sr=2-3/ref=pd_bbs_b_2_3/104-0948602-4597523?s=books&v=glance&n=283155

A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language Quirk and Greenbaum

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0582517346/qid=1144997874/sr=2-1/ref=pd_bbs_b_2_1/104-0948602-4597523?s=books&v=glance&n=283155

On Language: Chomsky's Classic Works Language and Responsibility and Reflections on Language in One Volume Chomsky

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1565844750/qid=1144998096/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_1/104-0948602-4597523?s=books&v=glance&n=283155

Transformational Grammar : A First Course

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0521347505/qid=1144998126/sr=2-3/ref=pd_bbs_b_2_3/104-0948602-4597523?s=books&v=glance&n=283155

Lexical-Functional Grammar : An Introduction to Parallel Constraint-Based Syntax Falk

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1575863405/qid=1144998196/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_1/104-0948602-4597523?s=books&v=glance&n=283155


Studies in Relational Grammar 1 Perlmutter

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0226660524/qid=1144997941/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_1/104-0948602-4597523?s=books&v=glance&n=283155

American English: Dialects and Variation Wolfram and Schilling-Estes

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0631204873/qid=1144998030/sr=2-2/ref=pd_bbs_b_2_2/104-0948602-4597523?s=books&v=glance&n=283155

Chickenchargrill
04-14-2006, 01:05 PM
Eek, double negatives everywhere. I don't know nothing about this.

;)