Multiple negation involves the presence of more than one negative in a particular sentence.
What Is a Double Negative?
A double negative occurs when two negative terms are used in the same sentence.
Negative forms in English are created by adding a negation to the verb.
I will go to Japan.
I will not go to Japan.
Sometimes there are negative forms of nouns such as “nowhere”, “nothing”, and “no one”.
A double negative is usually created by combining the negative form of a verb with a negative pronoun, a negative adverb, or a negative conjunction.
Examples of Double Negatives
There are common incorrect uses of double negatives:
– There ain’t no…
– I don’t got no time.
– I can’t find my keys nowhere.
There are sentences with only two negatives, that is a double negation (e.g. I couldn´t see nothing), or with more than two (e.g. She couldn´t see nothing nowhere).
Sometimes two or more negative forms co-occur in the same clause. There are two different types of multiple negation, one in which the negative forms co-occur in the same clause to express a single negative meaning, and one in which the negative forms have independent negative force.
Dependent multiple negation
Two or more negative forms may co-occur within the same clause to express a single negative meaning.
There ain´t nothing we can do.
He told her not to say nothing to nobody.
Independent multiple negation
Negative forms may naturally co-occur in cases of repetition. In these cases, the negative forms are not integrated within the same clause:
No, not today, he said.
There´s no one to blame not really.
In these examples, the negative forms are independent, since none of them can be replaced by non-assertive forms (without also adding not).