Common Errors in English: Double Negatives

Don’t say: “I didn’t buy nothing at the store.”

Say: “I didn’t buy anything at the store.”

In English, we can’t have a “double negative” (not + no) in the phrase. Use any- instead:

  • I don’t know anyone at this party.
    I don’t know no one at this party.
  • We aren’t doing anything at the moment.
    We aren’t doing nothing at the moment.
  • They didn’t travel anywhere during their vacation.
    They didn’t travel nowhere during their vacation.
  • You shouldn’t buy any of those shoes – they’re overpriced.
    You shouldn’t buy none of those shoes – they’re overpriced.
  • The teacher hasn’t given any homework so far this week.
    The teacher hasn’t given no homework so far this week.
  • Don’t worry, he won’t tell anybody your secret.
    Don’t worry, he won’t tell nobody your secret.

We also use any- in questions:

  • Do you know anyone at this party?
  • Are you doing anything at the moment?
  • Did they travel anywhere during their vacation?
  • Should I buy any of these shoes?
  • Has the teacher given any homework this week?

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