Syntactic change/

Beverly Flanigan flanigan at OHIO.EDU
Fri Apr 21 19:20:57 UTC 2006

I've heard the any-doesn't construction, but only from a
non-native-English-speaking (too many hyphens?) colleague.  I don't have
his example handy, but when I cite it to my class, the NSs all look
puzzled, as I do.  It's the ambiguity of meaning that's the problem:  Any
old 32-bit CPU doesn't fit your needs, only some certain ones do?  No
32-bit CPU fits your needs, none at all?  Might the instruction have been
written by a NNS, via outsourcing?

But I agree, double negatives are more acceptable, mainly because their
meaning is almost never ambiguous.  (I stump my students with Labov's
"Ain't no cat can't get into no coop," but that's a less common usage,

At 08:46 AM 4/21/2006, you wrote:
>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 -

The American Dialect Society -

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