[Ads-l] On National Grammar Day . . .

Stephen Goranson goranson at DUKE.EDU
Sun Mar 6 12:43:01 UTC 2016

It's in the "Second Edition, Corrected" of 1763, p. 139:


Stephen Goranson

From: American Dialect Society <...> on behalf of Laurence Horn <...>
Sent: Saturday, March 5, 2016 5:31 PM
To: ...
Subject: Re: [ADS-L] On National Grammar Day . . .

> On Mar 5, 2016, at 4:57 PM, Baron, Dennis E <d... wrote:
> Replying to Larry Horn’s comment,
> I agree, Larry, that Lowth was prescriptivist incarnate, and I do mention that he opposed double negatives in GGT—though I don’t quote him--but curiously, my pdf copy of the 1762 Lowth has nothing on double negatives, not on p. 126, not anywhere. And though, in 1982, there were no pdfs, when I thumbed through the pages back then I didn’t see that either. He must have added that in later editions — he did that with other proscriptions (passive voice, maybe? don’t remember offhand). I have, though, sharpened the post to take your comment into consideration! Thx.

Hmmm.  Interesting.  I've found a number of other places on the web where the quote is attributed to Robert Lowth, with the same date (1762) and I assume the same publication (his _Short Introduction to English Grammar, with Critical Notes_).  Here's one that's more scholarly than some, based on the research of a distinguished historian of the English language, the delightfully yclept Ingrid Tieken Boon von Ostade:


but on the other hand I agree with Dennis that the passage in question does not appear in the work cited, at least in the copy I found online.

I'll try to sort out this contretemps, if only to satisfy myself (and maybe Dennis), since in my message I was citing an old paper of mine ("Duplex negatio affirmat...: The economy of double negation", 1991) and I shudder to think I got the reference wrong.  On the bright side, the bishop's estate hasn't sued yet.

> On Mar 4, 2016, at 11:00 PM, ADS-L automatic digest system <...>> wrote:
> Two negative in English destroy one another, or are equivalent to an affirmative
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The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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