Is this a double negative please?

(13 Posts)
CathsKidStan Fri 14-Mar-14 17:56:08

If someone asks you "was they (people) of any help?" And the reply is "not much, I don't think" is that a kind of double negative?

Thanks

BikeRunSki Fri 14-Mar-14 17:58:20

That is technically a double negative, but I think most people would take it to be a negative.

NickNacks Fri 14-Mar-14 17:58:27

No it's not a double negative.

CathsKidStan Fri 14-Mar-14 18:12:10

Thank you. Should it have been "were they" rather than "was they"?

BikeRunSki Fri 14-Mar-14 18:19:33

Were they

But it seems I was wrong last time!

coffeewithcreamm Fri 14-Mar-14 18:27:06

Yes, it should be 'Were they' & no, that's not a double neg, it seems a definite neg, to me, but I see your point.

CathsKidStan Fri 14-Mar-14 18:35:21

Thank you again. I very rarely post on FB but when I do I'm very critical of myself. I just need to chillax. Now I'm going to stress about the use of that word in pedants corner wink

CathsKidStan Fri 14-Mar-14 19:25:39

Pedants' corner. Aaaah! Step away from the ipad.

Floggingmolly Fri 14-Mar-14 19:30:39

"Was they" is bad grammar, obviously. The reply is not a double negative confused. Is Pedants' Corner the place for you, op? wink

EyelinerQueen Fri 14-Mar-14 19:33:43

Negative schmegative, you seriously had to ask if 'Was they' was correct English???

Jesus H Christ on a bendy bus.

AnnoyingOrange Fri 14-Mar-14 19:53:36

OP, that weren't no double negative

wink

CatWithKittens Sat 15-Mar-14 11:09:05

Does anybody else share my view that we should be kind to those who come here with a genuine enquiry and reserve any harshness for those who come to mock our pedantry - and, of course, those who claim to know but are actually wrong?

chateauferret Mon 17-Mar-14 22:24:38

I'd figure 'was' was a typo.

It isn't a double negative because you wouldn't say 'not much, I think'. So the second 'not' isn't superfluous. And you can't say 'I don't think much' by analogy with 'I don't think so' because that means something else.

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