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I didn't get any score from my English teacher as she said the following sentence on my answer sheet belongs to a partial negation.

"Multasking is not productive and efficient."

By writing the above is it possible to mean:

"Multasking is not productive and multasking is not efficient"

I want to know this sentence can have two meanings. (Partial negation/Total denial)

  • Milk is not toxic and delicious. – Jim May 14 '18 at 16:02
  • @Jim: But Arsenic is not toxic and delicious, and Chocolate is not toxic and delicious are both syntactically "valid" utterances too. Though neither statement would be "true" if we parsed them the way we'd normally have expressed such things (using neither + nor rather than not + and). Whether that's what he meant or not, we should understand OP's "partial negation" as meaning one attribute applies, but not both. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica May 14 '18 at 17:18
  • @FumbleFingers - Exactly. disambiguation of these types of imprecise statements is usually handled with context. – Jim May 14 '18 at 17:20
  • @Jim: I suggest it's normally handled by syntax/vocabulary (neither+nor), but we can't ignore pragmatic context, so we know what OP probably means even if it's badly expressed. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica May 14 '18 at 17:21
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    @FumbleFingers- No. Personally I'd use not... or in casual conversation or neither ... nor if I was writing. – Jim May 14 '18 at 17:30
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I think you could improve that sentence like this: "Multasking is neither productive nor efficient."

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