Double Negative is a Big NO-NO

Double negative?? What’s a double negative?

Double negative sentence is a confusing and grammatically incorrect sentence that contains two negatives in the same clause.

Incorrect: I don’t have no money.

Correct   : I don’t have any money.

Correct   : I have no money.


Note: Negatives in two different clauses in the same sentence cause no problem.


• A person who doesn’t have love can’t be truly happy.

• I don’t know why he isn’t here.


Words such as “no” and “not” are obvious negations. However, there are some negations that are not as obvious, and are thus considered subtle negatives. Be careful when using the following adverbs implying negation:

• Hardly

• Scarcely

• Barely

Sentences using these words are at a greater risk of being combined with another negation because they are not as obvious. Consider the following examples:

Double Negative: I hardly have none.

Correction            : I hardly have any.


Double Negative: The football players never scarcely had personal time.

Correction            : The football players scarcely had personal time.


Double Negative: I barely got no sleep last night.

Correction            : I barely got any sleep last night.


Try this exercise: Correct the following sentences.

1. He doesn’t like neither coffee nor tea.

2. I can’t hardly hear the radio. Could you turn it up?

3. The beach was deserted. We couldn’t see nothing but sand.

4. I can’t never understand him.

5. Methods of horse training haven’t barely changed at all in the last eight centuries.



One thought on “Double Negative is a Big NO-NO

  1. Double Negative: The football players ‘never scarcely’ had personal time.

    Why can’t ‘never scarcely’ be determined as ‘often’?
    I mean, if there are double negative, why can’t it be positive?

    I’m very sorry for my weird question.


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