"All...not"

Sylph

Senior Member
Chinese, China
Hi, all:
Today I read a piece of news about four new elements to be added to the periodic table (Periodic table to gain four new elements - CNN.com). In the following paragraph:

All four elements are not found in nature, and were synthetically created in laboratories. Until now, these elements had temporary names and symbols on the periodic table as their existence was hard to prove. Since they decay extremely quickly, scientists found it difficult to reproduce them more than once.

This sentence "All four elements are not found in nature" confuses me. According to my knowledge of English grammer, "all" used with "not" indicates "not all". As for this sentence, it should mean "Not all the four elements are found in nature". But according to the context, the intended meaning should be "None of the four elements are found in nature". Therefore, this sentence is grammatically incorrect. Is it possible that CNN news could contain grammatical errors?

So guys, what's your understanding of this sentence?
 
  • srk

    Senior Member
    English - US
    I read it the same way you do. All are not found in nature, but some are. "... and were synthetically created ...." makes the intended meaning clear. "None of the four elements is found in nature" would work.
     

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    I agree with SRK; it should have said, "None of . . . ".

    Do not assume that writers for TV news, major newspapers, textbooks, blogs, or anything else always use correct English.
     

    Sylph

    Senior Member
    Chinese, China
    Yes, I agree with you, Parla. In our country, I can often find some mistakes in news, especially that published online. But this is CNN, an authoritative media, so I guessed there may be some new usage about "All ... not". Now with your and srk's help, I am sure that this is a grammatical error. Thank you two! ^_^
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    I would read it as "All four elements are (elements) not found in nature..." I think it's a slightly different emphasis than "None of the four elements are found in nature". I would prefer to see the word "elements" repeated in the original sentence.
     
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