"can't underestimate" = can't overestimate

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Tue Oct 18 14:13:12 UTC 2011

On Tue, Oct 18, 2011 at 9:09 AM, Jonathan Lighter wrote:
> A CNN analyst says "You can't underestimate" the Israelis' relief at
> the release of Gilad Shalit.
> I've heard this quasi-reversed construction frequently. It seems to
> confuse "can't" and "shouldn't."

This (along with related misnegations) has come up several times here,
as well as on Language Log, e.g.:



Ben Zimmer

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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