September 04, 2003

Just A Little Reminder From The Good Folks At English Grammar

In the English-speaking world, there is a little thing called a double negative, which, when spoken, makes a positive. A classic example of this is the Rolling Stones' "I Can't Get No Satisfaction." Now, what Mick meant to say is that "He can't get any satisfaction." But, by saying "can't get NO satisfaction," he's actually saying that he's absolutely rolling in satisfaction. What he CAN'T get, according to the double-negative grammar rule, is a relief from all that satisfaction. I know, I know. Shut up, Ryan, you're ruining a classic song.

Okay, so let's examine Pink Floyd for a second. "We don't need no education, we don't need no thought control." Applying the same rule, we discover that they DO need education, and they DO need thought control.

Fine, Ryan, whatever. Do you have a fucking point?

Just this. Everywhere you look in newspapers and Web sites, you see the term "anti-war protesters." Do you see where I'm going with this? Sooo, if you're an "anti-war protester," aren't you then, in fact, a war supporter? After all, if your aim is to be a "war protester," you should say "war protester." You're protesting war. You're not protesting anti-war. Or, maybe you are. Confused yet? Good.

My point is, it's sloppy grammar to say "anti-war protester," and I find it astounding that reputable news agencies can't catch themselves making such a common sense mistake, over and over and over again. After all, aren't they supposed to be experts with the written word? Maybe I'm looking too deeply into this.

Maybe I just can't get no satisfaction.

Posted by Ryan at September 4, 2003 02:27 PM

You're not too far off man, but you're not quite right either. And the anti-war protester is a very bad example.

Posted by: Bacour at January 30, 2005 01:10 PM
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