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In the intro of TMNT the song goes like this:

When the evil Shredder attacks, these Turtle boys don't cut him no slack!

As what I have searched "cut someone some slack" means: to treat (someone) in a less harsh or critical way

Based on what I have learned, we either use "don't/doesn't" or "no" for making a sentence negative, like "I don't like it" or "This is no good". If I wanted to make the above idiom negative I would either say:

these Turtle boys don't cut him any slack!

or

these Turtle boys cut him no slack!

but why are both of "don't" and "no" used here? If it's OK to use both don't and no in one sentence in which situations we can do so?

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    Using "don't" and "no" in one sentence... don't make no sense.
    – 41686d6564
    Commented Mar 14, 2022 at 3:05
  • @41686d6564 Does is make any sense now?
    – user141755
    Commented Mar 14, 2022 at 8:21
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    That was a joke :) "don't make no sense" has two grammatical errors but it's common usage in informal speech in some dialects as explained in the answer below. To be grammatically correct, I should've said "doesn't make any sense" or "makes no sense".
    – 41686d6564
    Commented Mar 14, 2022 at 8:42
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    Idioms don't follow the rules.
    – mcalex
    Commented Mar 15, 2022 at 5:23

1 Answer 1

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It's an example of a double negative, used in some dialects/regional varieties of English. It's non-standard. It basically means the same as "don't cut him any slack".

Songs often use dialects/regional varieties of English. You may also find these used in literature, for example when directly quoting speech, or possibly even in poetry, rap, movies, etc.

Some examples of double negatives in lines from other songs:

  • Ain't no sunshine when she's gone - Ain't No Sunshine, by Bill Withers
  • I can't get no satisfaction - Satisfaction, by the Rolling Stones
  • We don't need no education - Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2, by Pink Floyd
  • It wouldn't be nothing, nothing without a woman or a girl - It's a Man's World, by James Brown
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    Another well-known exemple is "I didn't do nothing wrong".
    – Polygnome
    Commented Mar 13, 2022 at 22:24
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    @anotherdave I'm not "arguing against" the use of double negatives here.
    – Billy Kerr
    Commented Mar 14, 2022 at 10:55
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    @anotherdave I mean non-standard in regard to formal English grammar. Non-standard does not mean they are not common or widely understood. English language learners are generally taught formal English grammar, so when they see something like this, it confuses the hell out of them, as it goes against everything they've been taught.
    – Billy Kerr
    Commented Mar 14, 2022 at 11:33
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    Just to explicitly point it out: song lyrics tend to get a broader free pass here because of needing to conform to rhythm and/or rhyme, which can sometimes be achieved using the additional negative. While Bill Withers could've gotten away with "There's no sunshine when she's gone" while keeping the rhythm, the Rolling Stones couldn't easily have maintained the rhythm when avoiding the double negative in "I can't get no satisfaction".
    – Flater
    Commented Mar 14, 2022 at 13:40
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    @anotherdave, I think the point is that usage of double-negative to mean what the grammar says is perfectly standard. To use a double-negative to mean the opposite of what the grammar says (as per the examples in this answer) are non-standard.
    – Kirk Woll
    Commented Mar 14, 2022 at 15:32

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