Double Negatives Exercise (154)

A double negative occurs when two negative words are used where one is sufficient. Most double negatives are considered incorrect grammar. Edit the following sentences to eliminate any double negatives.

Answers and Explanations

1.
Original: The officers haven’t no reason to stop a person merely for walking down the street.
Correct : The officers have no reason to stop a person merely for walking down the street.
Alterna.: The officers haven't any reason to stop a person merely for walking down the street.

The two negatives are haven’t and no. Removing not (the n’t in haven’t) or replacing no with any eliminates the double negative.

2.
Original: The show was unlike nothing I’d ever seen.
Correct : The show was unlike anything I’d ever seen.
Alterna.: The show was like nothing I'd ever seen.

Replace negative word nothing with positive word anything; or change negative unlike to positive like.

3.
Original: The neighbors claimed they hadn’t seen nothing unusual next door.
Correct : The neighbors claimed they had seen nothing unusual next door.
Alterna.: The neighbors claimed they hadn't seen anything unusual next door.

Drop the not from hadn’t; or replace negative nothing with positive anything.

4.
Original: Most young children cannot hardly wait for Christmas morning to arrive.
Correct : Most young children can hardly wait for Christmas morning to arrive.
Alterna.: Most young children cannot wait for Christmas morning to arrive.

Hardly is a negative word. Drop not from cannot; or drop hardly itself.

5.
Original: When the traveler looked for a map of Belgium in the train station, he couldn’t find none.
Correct : When the traveler looked for a map of Belgium in the train station, he couldn’t find one.
Alterna.: When the traveler looked for a map of Belgium in the train station, he found none.

Change none to one; or drop the couldn’t.

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