Thursday, February 10, 2011

Too much negativity

The title of the magazine article jumped out at me: “Can’t Hardly Wait.” This is wrong, isn’t it? A double negative:  “can’t” and “hardly.” Yet it passed the scrutiny of the magazine editor.

Just to be sure, I checked. “A double negative is the nonstandard usage of two negatives used in the same sentence so that they cancel each other and create a positive. In Shakespeare's day, double negatives were considered emphatic, but today, they are considered grammar mistakes.”

Lists of negative words - no, not, nobody, nothing, none, never, hardly, scarcely, barely, only - and practice worksheets for avoiding double negatives can be found on several websites. 

Just because "Can't Hardly Wait" was the name of a 1998 movie and a popular song does not justify its acceptability. There are other examples of poor grammar being spoken more frequently. What comes to your mind?

1 comment:

  1. Are adverbs passe? For instance, why do people say drive safe or shop local instead of drive safely or shop locally? Or am I out of the loop here?