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Sharpe books, Grammar gripe

I've finished reading the nine new Sharpe books by Bernard Cornwell that I bought recently. I read them far too fast. Maybe I'll start re-reading them. It's good to like both the books and the TV series.

I noticed a prevalent speech trend cropping up in Cornwell's writing. This is the tendency to use negative positives instead of positive negatives, e.g., not happy instead of unhappy, don't like instead of dislike, etc. I'm trying to use the negatives both in my speech and my writing, but it's difficult with everyone around using the positives. At this rate antonyms are going to disappear from the English language.



( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 25th, 2010 02:47 am (UTC)
I'm glad you enjoyed the Sharpe books so much! It's wonderful to be able to find page-turners like that! Of course, as you've pointed out, the downside is that you read them all too quickly...

As far as your grammar gripe goes, I have to confess that negative positives don't bother me, though I'm trying to think if I follow the same trend myself. I have a horrible feeling that I do. However, if I'm going to be completely honest, I'd rather see someone use a negative positive if it sounds closer to natural speech (e.g. if it's a line of dialogue). It all depends on the situation and in what context the negative positive is being used. Saying all this, I can understand and sympathize with your fears for the antonym. Maybe the antonym will make a comeback. Language is constantly changing and evolving and certain trends in grammar seem to crop up to reflect that. In time, antonyms may become all the rage again. ;-)
Jun. 25th, 2010 09:04 am (UTC)
Prof. Strunk is very pro-antonyms!
Jun. 25th, 2010 03:29 pm (UTC)
Good point! If Strunk is pro-antonyms then we should all make more of an effort to use them! :-)
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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