border isn't secure because it isn't in the [Double negative with because-clause]

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avidsuper

Senior Member
Japanese
Hi,

I came across in the newspapers two sentences that each use a double negative and contain a because-clause:

1. The very populist implication, of course, is that the border isn't secure because it isn't in the interest of some well-off Americans -- and that Americans who are struggling economically are paying the price. (From Washington Post on Ted Cruz's immigration ad that feature men and women in professional attires crossing the border)

2. He (Bill Clinton) also suggested that he would not thrive politically today because be was not "mad at anybody," and implicit jab at Mr. Trump's harsh attacks on Muslims and others -- and a signial that Mr. Trump had not gotten under Mr. Clinton's skin.

Usually I find double negatives easy to parse. I go by the principle of "two negatives make an affirmative." But with the involvement of a because-clause, I found the above two sentences difficult to process. Can someone please tell what the two sentences really mean?

additionally,

1)I like her not because she is innocent.
2) I don't like her because she is innocent.
3) I don't like her because she isn't innocent.

Do 1), 2), and 3) express the same meaning?
 
  • goldenband

    Senior Member
    English - American
    This is a simplification, but:

    1. The implication is that the border isn't secure specifically because certain well-off Americans think an insecure border serves their (financial) interests.

    (Even simpler: The border is insecure because certain rich people make money when the border is insecure.)

    2. Because Bill Clinton's politics are not based on anger, he would not be a successful politician today. By pointing this out, he is implicitly criticizing Trump, and showing that Trump doesn't bother him (or, possibly: showing that Trump's popularity is not changing Clinton's own political stances).

    Your question after "additionally" should probably be a new thread.
     
    Last edited:

    Rhye

    Senior Member
    English - American
    These really aren't "double negatives" in the strictest sense because the negatives are separated into different clauses. The separate clauses are separate thoughts, which happen to have a cause and effect relationship toward one another. In other words, one clause being negative causes another one to be negative.

    Some well-off Americans not having a strong interest in a strong border -- (causes) --> The border not being secure

    Bill Clinton not being "mad at anybody" -- (would cause) --> an unsuccessful political career

    (I think the "additionally" is still on topic, so I will tackle it as well).

    1) You like her for a reason other than her innocence.
    2) You dislike her for her innocence.
    3) You dislike her because she lacks innocence.

    The meanings of 1-3 are all different. In 1) her innocence has no effect on your opinion of her. In 2) her innocence lowers your opinion of her. In 3) she is not innocent, which lowers your opinion of her.
     

    avidsuper

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    This is a simplification, but:

    1. The implication is that the border isn't secure specifically because certain well-off Americans think an insecure border serves their (financial) interests.

    (Even simpler: The border is insecure because certain rich people make money when the border is insecure.)

    2. Because Bill Clinton's politics are not based on anger, he would not be a successful politician today. By pointing this out, he is implicitly criticizing Trump, and showing that Trump doesn't bother him (or, possibly: showing that Trump's popularity is not changing Clinton's own political stances).

    Your question after "additionally" should probably be a new thread.
    Thank you, Goldenband, for your explanations. Now I got the Clinton example, but am still struggling to understand the border example.

    Based on your explanation, the Clinton example seems to go by the "two negatives make one affirmative" principle-- He would thrive politically today because could be "mad at anybody." (in Trump's fashion)

    But the second example, which would be " the border IS secure because it IS in the interest of some well-off Americans" based on the principle, seems to yield a meaning that is opposite to your interpretation, that is, a secured border is in the interest of some well-off Americans, not the the other way around, just like what you said.
     

    goldenband

    Senior Member
    English - American
    Hmmm, I'm not sure if you're following both examples. Let me try a different approach, using mostly affirmative statements:

    #1: The border is insecure. This is in the interest of some well-off Americans (who make money when the border is insecure). This takes money away from other, poorer Americans.

    #2: Bill Clinton's politics are based on consensus-building. Donald Trump's politics are based on anger. Donald Trump is thriving in the current political environment, which supports anger more than it supports consensus-building. Therefore, Clinton would not thrive today. By pointing this out, Clinton is criticizing Trump, and implying that he (Clinton) will not change his politics to resemble Trump's politics, even though Trump is currently popular.
     

    avidsuper

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    Hmmm, I'm not sure if you're following both examples. Let me try a different approach, using mostly affirmative statements:

    #1: The border is insecure. This is in the interest of some well-off Americans (who make money when the border is insecure). This takes money away from other, poorer Americans.

    #2: Bill Clinton's politics are based on consensus-building. Donald Trump's politics are based on anger. Donald Trump is thriving in the current political environment, which supports anger more than it supports consensus-building. Therefore, Clinton would not thrive today. By pointing this out, Clinton is criticizing Trump, and implying that he (Clinton) will not change his politics to resemble Trump's politics, even though Trump is currently popular.
    I did follow the Clinton example. I realized the sentence was in the subjunctive mood. The trouble was with "because." If I had turned the "because" into "if", my meaning would have been clear --"I would trive political today if I could get angry easily like Trump."

    Thank you for going an extra mile in helping me understand the meanings of the sentences.
     

    avidsuper

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    These really aren't "double negatives" in the strictest sense because the negatives are separated into different clauses. The separate clauses are separate thoughts, which happen to have a cause and effect relationship toward one another. In other words, one clause being negative causes another one to be negative.

    Some well-off Americans not having a strong interest in a strong border -- (causes) --> The border not being secure

    Bill Clinton not being "mad at anybody" -- (would cause) --> an unsuccessful political career

    (I think the "additionally" is still on topic, so I will tackle it as well).

    1) You like her for a reason other than her innocence.
    2) You dislike her for her innocence.
    3) You dislike her because she lacks innocence.

    The meanings of 1-3 are all different. In 1) her innocence has no effect on your opinion of her. In 2) her innocence lowers your opinion of her. In 3) she is not innocent, which lowers your opinion of her.
    Eureka moment, thank you!

    "I didn't say that because I wanted to flatter you"

    Can the above sentence mean "I said something, and I said that NOt because I wanted to flatter you"?
     
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