Double negative trends after Trump remarks on Russian meddling

By Thom Poole
BBC News

Published

It might not be as snappy as "I can't get no satisfaction" or "We don't need no education", but could another phrase - "I don't see any reason why I wouldn't" - be set to join the list of famous double negatives?

On Monday, to the shock of many US lawmakers, US President Donald Trump said he couldn't see any reason why Russia would meddle in the 2016 US election.

But he has now sought to clarify, saying he had misspoken.

media captionDonald Trump: "I realised that there was a need for some clarification..."

"The sentence should have been: 'I don't see any reason why I wouldn't' or 'why it wouldn't be Russia'. Sort of a double negative," he said.

It is the last reference that has been seized on. Fans of easy-to-read sentences might want to avert their eyes.

First, a definition.

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Double negatives might be frowned upon - Oxford Dictionaries advises "you should avoid them in all but very informal situations" - but they are common and generally understood.

But Mr Trump's explanation has raised eyebrows.

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The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

A Conservative critic of Mr Trump, Ben Shapiro, joined in.

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History has been revisited.

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The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

Song lyrics have been adjusted

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The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

There were also references to other esoteric bits of grammar...

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... as well as another famous Trump phrase.

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