Syntactic change/

Landau, James James.Landau at NGC.COM
Fri Apr 21 12:46:57 UTC 2006

Wilson Gray complaineth:

>>From SlashDot:
>"You can completely ignore this [difference between a 32-bit CPU and a
64-bit CPU], >because
>_any_ 32-bit CPU _doesn't_ fit your needs."
>Don't people usually say "... because _no_ 32-bit CPU fits your needs"?
>Or do I simply need to get out more?

Perhaps you need to stay home more.  This construction, and some similar
ones which I am too demoralized to list, are quite common, particularly
in written instructions.

I would rather be stuck on a desert island with a double-negative user.
Or, as one science fiction writer said, "This is the Jim Baen of my

Seriously, the double-negative, like the contraction "ain't", appears in
so many varieties of English that one might almost think of it as a WPA
project to keep prescriptivists gainfully employed.  However,
"any...doesn't" is an illiteracy, poor and simple.

      - Jim Landau

The American Dialect Society -

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