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Expressing "double negation"

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There are two main methods for double negation. The simpler method is to use a double negative with modal verbs or predicate verbs. The more complicated method is to negate both the subject and the predicate.

Negation before a Negative Word

Structure

Subj. + 不是 + 不 / 没 + Predicate

Subj. + 不 + 会 / 能 / 可能 + 不 / 没 + Predicate

The predicate part of the pattern can be a verb or an adjective.

Examples

  • 来 的 。 huì lái de.There is no way he's not coming.
  • 可能 知道 。 kěnéng zhīdào.There is no way she doesn't know about this.
  • 她 太 害羞 了 ,不是 礼貌 。Tā tài hàixiū le, bù shì lǐmào.She's too shy; It's not that she's not polite.
  • 不是 没有 钱 ,是 不 想 乱 花 钱 。bù shì méiyǒu qián, shì bù xiǎng luàn huā qián.It's not that he doesn't have money; it's just he doesn't want to spend it recklessly.
  • 我 知道 你 想 减肥 ,但是 吃 早饭 。Wǒ zhīdào nǐ xiǎng jiǎnféi, dànshì néng chī zǎofàn.I know you want to lose weight, but you can't not eat breakfast.

Negation before Single Noun

This structure is used for referencing, often with topic comments. 没有一个人 is equivalent to 没有哪个人 or 没有谁.

Structure

(Topic +) 没有 + [Single Noun] + 不 / 没 + Predicate + 的

Examples

  • 没有 一 个 人 讨厌 他 Méiyǒu yī gè rén tǎoyàn tā de.There is not one person who doesn't dislike him.
  • 这些 菜 没有 一 个 Zhèxiē cài méiyǒu yī gè de.There is no single one that is not spicy among these dishes.
  • 我们 公司 的 员工 没有 一 个 会 说 英语 Wǒmen gōngsī de yuángōng méiyǒu yī gè huì shuō Yīngyǔ de.Our company doesn't have a single employee who can't speak English.
  • 他 的 女朋友 没有 一 个 漂亮 Tā de nǚpéngyou méiyǒu yī gè piàoliang de.None of his girlfriends were not beautiful.
  • 我们 学校 的 学生 没有 一 个 参加 高考 Wǒmen xuéxiào de xuéshēng méiyǒu yī gè méi cānjiā gāokǎo de.There wasn't a single student who didn't take the college entrance exam in our school.

See also

Sources and further reading

Books