Mighty Red Pen

June 26, 2009

It’s a crime

Filed under: Grammar goddess,Wordsworthy — mighty red pen @ 7:37 pm
Tags: , ,

Listen as Boston mayoral candidate Michael Flaherty commits the crime of the double negative (“One child murdered is one less child we won’t see graduate from school”) about ten seconds into this advertising spot.

Hat tip to Nikita and Bostonist.



  1. Given the drop-out rate in the Boston school system, this double negative might not be unintentional. It could well be that each child murdered is one more that we won’t see fail to graduate.

    Maybe this is part of some kind of honesty in politics policy.

    Comment by David — June 26, 2009 @ 7:50 pm | Reply

  2. This isn’t a double negative in the traditional sense. It’s not like “I didn’t do nothing” where the two negative reinforce each other. Flaherty’s “crime” is overnegation: extra negations create a meaning opposite to the one intended. Language Log has a lot about it.

    Comment by goofy — June 29, 2009 @ 8:49 am | Reply

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