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I often come across a sentence in spoken English (and sometimes in written English as well) that I think is grammatically incorrect. The sentence is

It's never a bad idea not getting advice from XYZ.

Although comprehensible, it sounds as though it could be better rephrased, but I just don't know how to do it.

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  • 'It's not a good idea to seek advice from XYZ.' Avoid using too many negatives.
    – shin
    Sep 15, 2015 at 6:01
  • never - (negative); bad - (negative); not - (negative) => (-1)(-1)(-1) = -1. Hence, it is also possible to say it this way: "It's a good idea not to get/seek advice from XYZ."
    – shin
    Sep 15, 2015 at 6:04
  • if you need to use frequency-related word then, "It's always a bad idea to seek advice from XYZ." (always and never being polar opposites)
    – shin
    Sep 15, 2015 at 6:06
  • Spoken: "(We'd) Better not listen to XYZ." Written: "It's recommended not to listen to XYZ." (If I understand your "getting" correctly; otherwise, shin's "seek" is good.) -- I wonder if your example really is grammatically incorrect. Sep 15, 2015 at 6:11

2 Answers 2

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Not getting literally means to not receive.

The sentence uses a double negative, which can be confusing and requires close attention to unravel. Since both negatives negate each other, the equivalent meaning is:

It's a bad idea getting advice from XYZ.

Here, getting can be equivalent to seeking or obtaining (where the listener is proactive), it can also mean receiving (where the listener is passive).

It's a bad idea seeking advice from XYZ.
It's a bad idea receiving advice from XYZ.

A better equivalent would be:

It is best to avoid advice from XYZ.

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It is slang. It is a joke, really. You are saying the opposite of a common saying. The complex grammatical answers aren’t helpful. Its sarcasm.

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