Syntactic change/

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Fri Apr 21 22:52:08 UTC 2006

Unfortunateely, y'all, it was not an instruction, but a rebuttal of a claim
by another poster that 32-bit-clean Intel Macintoshes will be inferior to
equivalent Intel PC's because he needs a 64-bit-clean CPU for the work that
he does. The rebutter is pointing out that "equivalent" means that both the
Intel Mac and the Intel PC will be only 32-bit clean. Hence, neither will
work for him. IOW, the correct interpretation is Beverly's

"No 32-bit CPU fits your needs, none at all."

After reading the entire exchange, I conclude that both participants, though
they're computer geeks, are native speakers.


On 4/21/06, Beverly Flanigan <flanigan at> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Beverly Flanigan <flanigan at OHIO.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: Syntactic change/
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> 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,
> obviously.)
> 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
> >existence!"
> >
> >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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