I sometimes make interrogative sentences that end up having double "not"s like,

  • Isn't it not that great? (I think it's not that great)

  • Shouldn't it not be there? (I think it shouldn't be there.)

  • Couldn't you just not do it? (I think it was/is possible for you not to do it.)

In writing, I often rewrite the sentence in different form, since it feels not quite correct, but those kind of sentences come up in mind occasionally because that's how I'd naturally say in my native language.

Are those kind of sentences at least understandable, if not correct, or do native speakers also say like that?

  • They are all fine and understandable to have the meanings you indicated. Jul 28, 2022 at 8:56
  • @MichaelHarvey - Really?? I would have thought "It's not that great, is it?" and "It shouldn't be there, should it?" far more natural. Jul 28, 2022 at 9:29
  • I also think they're fine in informal speech. You're kind of thinking of "not that great" as one unit, so "Isn't it ____?" becomes "Isn't it (not that great)?" I thought maybe this was a US/UK split, but I see Michael is from the UK.
    – stangdon
    Jul 28, 2022 at 12:08


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