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.