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#852860 - 10/24/10 06:36 PM Double negatives  
Joined: May 2009
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R. Shayne Vaughan Offline
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R. Shayne Vaughan  Offline
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Edmonton, KY
I know song lyrics have broken the rules of grammar many times, most notable double negatives. Two song lyrics come to mind:

From Something (Beatles)
Somewhere in her smile she knows,
That I don't need no other lover.

From Don't Rock The Jukebox (Alan Jackson)
Now I ain't got nothin' against rock and roll

My question is: should you always use a double negative when faced with the choice?


I usually start with a title or maybe a little rhyme or phrase. - Harlan Howard

Co-writing = Compromise!


#852883 - 10/24/10 08:37 PM Re: Double negatives [Re: R. Shayne Vaughan]  
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Lee Arten Offline
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Lee Arten  Offline
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If your character would say things that way, and the line fits, use them.
If not, don't.



"No man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money." Johnson.
#852890 - 10/24/10 09:34 PM Re: Double negatives [Re: Lee Arten]  
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John Lawrence Schick Offline
John Lawrence Schick  Offline

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Yes, lyrics should reflect how real people speak.

"Somewhere in her smile she knows,
That I don't need no other lover"

Better than "That I don't need another lover". or "That I need no other lover". But then, that ain't half bad neither.

John smile

#852955 - 10/25/10 01:35 AM Re: Double negatives [Re: R. Shayne Vaughan]  
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Steve Cooke Offline
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Steve Cooke  Offline
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I agree with Lee and John's responses. But avoid it if the results looked too contrived. It's better if the double negation seems genuine to the voice of the narrator/character in the song rather than those situations where it's used to quote someone else as that can seem like they're being portrayed as somehow 'lower class' and the narrator is superior to them.

I'll bet that some of our more prolific wordsmiths here could get a whole song out of the double negative theme. Might be fun.


Steve Cooke
Stockton-on-Tees, UK
http://wwww.soundcloud.com/stevecooke
#853143 - 10/25/10 10:21 PM Re: Double negatives [Re: Steve Cooke]  
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Ott Lukk (D) Offline
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Ott Lukk (D)  Offline
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"I can't get no satisfaction" sounds interesting, but I have this nasty feeling someone's done it before.
Ott

#853585 - 10/27/10 03:00 PM Re: Double negatives [Re: R. Shayne Vaughan]  
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Nigel Quin Offline
Nigel Quin  Offline

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Originally Posted by R. Shayne Vaughan
My question is: should you always use a double negative when faced with the choice?
No!

Next question please smile

#853594 - 10/27/10 03:34 PM Re: Double negatives [Re: Nigel Quin]  
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Doug Barnett Offline
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Doug Barnett  Offline
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I agree with the idea that if it makes it sound authentic then use it. however, in all other cases find a way to use grammatically correct lines.

I wrote a song several years ago called the double negative blues.

"I don't do nothing every day
so why am I so tired anyway

the double negative blues
open mouth and insert shoes
I don't do nothing for nobody I don't never choose (nohow)
Double negative blues"


#853596 - 10/27/10 04:09 PM Re: Double negatives [Re: Doug Barnett]  
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Rick Heenan Offline
Rick Heenan  Offline

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Lockport NY, usa
So, do a double negative really make a positive? I ain't gots no idea. Bad grammar don't work nohow. Whut?

#853618 - 10/27/10 05:41 PM Re: Double negatives [Re: Rick Heenan]  
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BIG JIM MERRILEES Offline
BIG JIM MERRILEES  Offline

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It is all about empathy.....The listener must understand and empathise with the singer......realistic dialect and phrases in common use adds empathy.....whereas sometimes grammatically correct lyrics would actually be alien to most people listening to the song as real people would never speak like that.

#853641 - 10/27/10 06:51 PM Re: Double negatives [Re: BIG JIM MERRILEES]  
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Stephen Brooke Offline
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Stephen Brooke  Offline
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Graceville FL
Originally Posted by BIG JIM MERRILEES
It is all about empathy.....The listener must understand and empathise with the singer......realistic dialect and phrases in common use adds empathy.....whereas sometimes grammatically correct lyrics would actually be alien to most people listening to the song as real people would never speak like that.

Some of us do. My last girlfriend told me I talked like a book. smile

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