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a. It isn't impossible for me to be swindled by anyone.

b. It is possible for me to be swindled by anyone.

I think the meaning of (b) is clear. It seems to be saying that anyone can swindle me.

However, I find (a) ambiguous. I think it might mean the same as (b) and it might also mean

  1. It is not true that it's impossible for me to be swindled by anyone. (In other words: There are people who can swindle me.)

Am I correct?

Is (a) ambiguous and (b) unambiguous?

Many thanks.

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The problem with the first example is that it really needs "someone", not "anyone".

  • It isn't impossible for me to be swindled by someone.

When we use the word "not" and a prefix like un- or im- before an adjective (the only acceptable kind of 'double-negative') this is to deliberately understate the point. We say it to show that something might be rare, but not so rare that you never hear of it. "Anyone" is just far too broad to use along with this.

The second example could work with either "anyone" or "someone", but the meaning would be different.

  • It is possible for me to be swindled by anyone. (Any person could swindle you)
  • It is possible for me to be swindled by someone. (Some particular people may be able to swindle you)

The latter, which I suspect is what you really mean to say, isn't quite idiomatic and would be better written as:

  • It is possible I could be swindled by someone.

or even

  • It is possible someone could swindle me.

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