Doble Negatives Make Me Cringe

Just this morning, I was sitting at a local car dealership waiting for my car’s oil to be changed when I heard the following words from a young male professional sitting nearby: “I don’t feel guilty no more.”

I cringed at the sound of this double negative. As a marketing professional and mother of two, I quickly correct my young daughters when they accidentally (or perhaps not so accidentally) use two forms of negation in a single sentence.

But such a lesson can be a difficult one to teach since we hear and see such bad sentence construction all of the time–in casual conversation, newspaper articles, TV programming and even famous song lyrics (“I Can’t Get No Satisfaction” comes to mind–okay, The Stones have well-deserved artistic license).

But as a person within earshot of this double negative, I can’t help but think this young man must have been asleep during English class. If I would have truly been on the receiving end of this conversation (instead of eavesdropping, I know…. shame on me!) I would have politely replied: “Pick up the classic Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr. and E. B. White will you!”