Why Double Negatives in Sentences are Wrong

What is a double negative?

A double negative is when two negative words are used in a sentence.

For example:

She didn’t see nobody at the park.

Double negative examples

Why are double negatives wrong to use in sentences?

Sentences with double negatives are confusing and wrong, because two negatives cancel each other out and make a positive. When you use a double negative, it ends up being the exact opposite of what you want to say.

For example:

I don’t want nothing to eat.

Literally, this means:

I do want something to eat.

Sentences should have only one negative form

Most of the time, negative forms in English are created by adding a negation to the verb.

I will work on my homework. 

The negative form on this sentence is:

I will not work on my homework.

What are negative nouns?

It’s important to understand that there are negative nouns. If these negative nouns are used in sentences, the verb in that sentence is not negated.

Negative nouns are words such as ‘nowhere’, ‘nothing’, ‘nobody’, and ‘no one’.

For example:

We’re going nowhere this evening.

It would be wrong to negate the verb in this sentence:

We’re not going nowhere this evening.

‘Not’ is a negative modifier and it isn’t needed.

Double negative examples

Double negative worksheets

In these free worksheets, students identify the two negative words used in each sentence, and they’re asked to rewrite the sentences properly.

Double negative worksheets