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Thread: FR: nobody can not be affected

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
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    FR: nobody can not be affected

    Hi,

    How do I use double negatives in French? I'd like to say 'nobody can not be affected by the techniques of publicity' as in 'everyone is affected by publicity'. Do double negatives exist, or do I need to use the second version?

    My attempt so far is 'personne ne peut être pas affecté par les techniques de la publicité', but this looks really wrong...

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
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    Re: Double negatives: nobody can not be affected

    Hi,

    It should be Personne ne peut pas être affecté... but it'll always sound better to say something like Il est impossible que personne ne soit affecté par...

  3. #3
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    Re: Double negatives: nobody can not be affected

    Thank you very much! I'll use the second version, it's a good way of getting the subjunctive into my essay

  4. #4
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    Re: Double negatives: nobody can not be affected

    Quote Originally Posted by Oddmania View Post
    Hi,

    It should be Personne ne peut pas être affecté... but it'll always sound better to say something like Il est impossible que personne ne soit affecté par...
    Littéralement, Personne ne peut ne pas être affecté. C'est d'ailleurs compréhensible, avec un peu de concentration ... Mais Il est impossible que personne ne soit affecté dit autre chose que "nobody can not be affected" (= personne ne peut être non affecté = tout le monde est affecté), à savoir qu'il y a forcément quelqu'un qui est affecté.

    Je traduirais Il n'y a personne qui puisse ne pas être affecté.

  5. #5
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    Re: FR: nobody can not be affected

    Quote Originally Posted by lovecoffee View Post
    Hi,

    How do I use double negatives in French? I'd like to say 'nobody can not be affected by the techniques of publicity' as in 'everyone is affected by publicity'.
    It's worth pointing out, I think, that this sounds very odd in English. Much better is:

    "Nobody can remain unaffected by .."
    "Nobody can fail to be affected by .."

  6. #6
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    Re: FR: nobody can not be affected

    Quote Originally Posted by englishman View Post
    It's worth pointing out, I think, that this sounds very odd in English. Much better is:

    "Nobody can remain unaffected by .."
    "Nobody can fail to be affected by .."
    I don't think it necessarily sounds very odd - although I would definitely agree that it's not "elegant" and best avoided in writing. I can imagine people saying it - particularly in a context to directly contradict the positive version "nobody can be affected by..." I can imagine someone replying "I disagree, nobody can not be affected"
    ‘If a chap can’t compose an epic poem while he is weaving a tapestry, he had better shut up.' William Morris.

  7. #7
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    Re: FR: nobody can not be affected

    Quote Originally Posted by timpeac View Post
    I don't think it necessarily sounds very odd - although I would definitely agree that it's not "elegant" and best avoided in writing. I can imagine people saying it - particularly in a context to directly contradict the positive version "nobody can be affected by..." I can imagine someone replying "I disagree, nobody can not be affected"
    In the particular instance you describe, yes, it's OK, but without stress, I think that it's very non-standard.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    France
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    9,797

    Re: FR: nobody can not be affected

    Personne ne peut pas être affecté. 3 négations = 1 affirmation.
    personne n' est à l'abri de l'influence des techniques... > 2 mots de négation
    Nul ne reste à l'écart de l'influence des...
    Personne n'est insensible à / au / aux...
    Nous sommes tous influencés par...

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