Friday, April 27, 2007

A Lesson On Double Negation

In an English class the teacher is trying to impart to the students a new lesson.

Teacher: Class, today we are going to discuss the topic on double negation. Double negation involves using two words that connotes negativity. The end result of combining two negative words is an affirmative thought.

(The class was paying close attention to the discussion and everyone was very quiet.)

Teacher: You simply follow this structure, NOT plus a negative word. Take note that a negative word comes with the prefix 'un', 'in' and any other prefixes that implies the opposite meaning of the word. Now give me examples of negative words.

Student1: unholy!

Student2: unflattering!

Student3: insecure!

Student4: illegal!

Teacher: Very good class! Now let's apply double negation. NOT plus unholy becomes holy. Why, because unholy means not holy, so, 'not' 'not holy' means holy. Do you agree?

Class: Yes Ma'am.

Teacher: K, let's try the other words. Not unflattering becomes flattering.

(The teacher went to finish the examples, then explained her point.)

Teacher: This is what you should remember with double negation. The thought created from double negation becomes an affirmative thought because the double negativity changes the context of the word to an affirmative one. The negative context of the words cancel each other.

(The teacher went on to get her point across the room.)

Teacher: Remember, this is only possible with two negative words. Two negative words always imply a positive thought. Take note also that it can never be done the other way around, meaning, it has never happened in the English language that two affirmative words when combined ever turn out to mean a negative thought. Do you get it, class?

(Then from the back of the classroom, somebody yelled with sarcasm.)

Student: Yeah, right!

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