Negation Error (Double Negatives)

A double negative happens when you put two negative words which refer to the same thing together in the same sentence.

Since the two negative words are talking about the same thing, they cancel each other out and you say the opposite of what you mean.

List of common negatives: no, not, none, no one, nothing, nowhere, neither, nobody, never.

Verbs become negative when a negative word such as "not" or its contraction is added to them: cannot, does not, should not, will not, can't, doesn't, shouldn't.

Example of using a double negative:

Incorrect: I am not going to pay no bills today.

One of the negatives must be removed to correct the sentence.

Correct: I am not going to pay any bills today. ("Any" is not a negative word.)

Correct: I am going to pay no bills today.

Another example:

Incorrect: She cannot make friends with nobody in our school.

To correct the sentence, remove either one of the two negatives.

Correct: She can make friends with nobody in our school.

Correct: She cannot make friends with anybody in our school.