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Accepting that you are homeless is a pretty hard pill to swallow, said Horvath. Maybe seeing yourself as "not homeless" is a good thing, added Pruss. When you stop believing that your current state is anything but temporary, the going gets a lot tougher, he said.
Source: Brenoff, Ann. 7 Myths About Homeless People Debunked.

I think it is supposed to be "when you start believing that your current state is anything but temporary, the going gets a lot tougher" since the context is that accepting homeless is permanent makes people sad. What do you think? Is this a mistake?

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This question appears to be off-topic because it is about basic semantics and logic, not English as such. –  FumbleFingers Jul 1 at 16:51
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This question appears to be on-topic because semantics is part of language. –  snailboat Jul 2 at 3:06
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@FumbleFingers: what?? Since when is English semantics off-topic here? (Hint: in some languages, double negatives are the norm, whereas in English, they can be seen as illogical. That doesn't make them a question of logic rather than of language.) –  Martha Jul 2 at 17:20
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@FumbleFingers: when you read the quote with "stop", didn't you know exactly what it meant, despite the actual words saying the opposite of what it meant? It's a mistake, yes, but it's not "just" a mistake. –  Martha Jul 2 at 18:06
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@FumbleFingers: and yet, this kind of logic error that can exist while still carrying the actual meaning is something quite typical for the English language. There are scores of people saying that they could care less when they mean the exact opposite. Their intention is, however, understood, and it is interesting to notice that the English language is flexible enough to accommodate for these kind of logical errors without losing its ability to carry the intended message. –  oerkelens Jul 8 at 15:11

1 Answer 1

up vote 10 down vote accepted

It is (almost certainly) a mistake. It should either be

When you stop believing that your current state is temporary, the going gets a lot tougher.

... or

When you start believing your current state is anything but temporary, the going gets a lot tougher.

This is an accidental slip of the tongue brought about by a needlessly complicated sentence structure (I'm a native English speaker and it took me a few tries to actually figure out that the words don't say what they seem to say). The intended meaning is probably clear enough that most readers would not be fazed.

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+1 for "accidental". People talk in prefabricated chunks, and when they occasionally get misaligned nobody notices. –  StoneyB Jul 1 at 0:53

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