A dictionary says wrong means not right, then does there's no wrong answer have a double negative?

  • 1
    What do you think - and why do you think it matters? Most people wouldn't regard that as a double negative. The term "double negative" most commonly refers to the use of two negatives to reinforce each other in a way that is non-standard. But even in the broader definition (that includes legitimate uses of multiple negation), I don't see a word such as "wrong" counting as a negative. But even if you decide to count it as a negative, there's nothing wrong with your sentence, so why does it bother you?
    – rjpond
    Commented Oct 14, 2020 at 7:40
  • Because a double negative is ungrammatical?
    – ABU
    Commented Oct 14, 2020 at 7:44
  • That depends how you define 'double negative'. As I said, the most common definition of 'double negative' is to refer to the ungrammatical type of double negative (or at least, to the type of double negative where the two negations reinforce each other rather than cancelling each other out as they would in standard English). But you haven't presented an example of that.
    – rjpond
    Commented Oct 14, 2020 at 7:50

1 Answer 1


The type of double negative that is unacceptable in standard English is the type where the two negations reinforce each other or reflect each other or agree with each other (instead of contradicting each other).

So, you shouldn't say "I haven't got nothing" (unless you mean "I have got something").

There is nothing wrong with having two negatives in a sentence if you are using them correctly to cancel each other out. If you're using "It's not nothing" to mean "at least it's something", that's correct English. If you're using "I'm not doing nothing" to insist that you are in fact doing something, that's correct English.

So, even if you were to regard "wrong" as a negative (which is dubious - the notion of double negation usually refers to negators such as "not", "nothing", "never", "nowhere", etc), there would still be absolutely nothing wrong with saying "It isn't wrong" (which has a slightly different shade of meaning from "It is right" - because being "not wrong" includes the possibility of being neither wrong nor right).

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