another reversal

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Tue Oct 25 15:12:02 UTC 2011

On Oct 25, 2011, at 10:05 AM, Charles C Doyle wrote:

> Somewhat in the "archaic" sense of 'suspect' (OED doubt v.6b).
> --Charlie

Well, the earlier examples with "doubt" definitely allow that earlier 'suspect' sense, e.g.

It never occurred to me to doubt that your work...would not advance our common object.                                               Darwin, cited in Jespersen (1917)

But I think by now it's more likely a can't-keep-track-of-all-those-negatives phenomenon (as with "miss not", "too…not", "keep from not Xing", and other hypernegations we've discussed), as Victor was suggesting.  Other modern examples with "doubt":

One senior White House official said no one ever doubted that Mr. Reagan would allow Mr. Meese’s move to the Justice Department to deprive him of a trusted adviser who had served him in his 1980 campaign and later as counselor to the President.                           
--N. Y. Times article "Politics and the Attorney General", 4/21/85

There is no doubt that the commissioner will not give Pete an impartial hearing.
--Pete Rose’s lawyer Reuven Katz in radio interview, 8/24/89, expressing his 
(perhaps premature) confidence in Commissioner Bart Giamatti’s fairness


> ________________________________________
> From: American Dialect Society [ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] on behalf of Victor Steinbok [aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM]
> Sent: Tuesday, October 25, 2011 9:46 AM
> I was browsing some archived articles and came across this:
>> Another question surrounds the issue of volunteers for the Games.
>> Romney has said it was never certain that the Games would attract a
>> sufficient number of volunteers. ... But many Salt Lake officials say
>> they never doubted that Utah, with its public-spirited culture, would
>> fail to produce a large corps of volunteer workers. It did: 25,000 of
>> them.
> STRONG: [THIRD EDITION] Boston Globe [Boston, Mass] 31 Mar 2002: .1. ]
> ProQuest
> "Never doubted that Utah would fail to produce...", to my ear, sounds as
> if they expected NOT to get enough volunteers. But the intent is clearly
> the opposite--they "never doubted" that "Utah would produce".
>     VS-)
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

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