It’s not because you’re not a worthy person

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Can you see the clarity of the expression "It’s not because you’re not a worthy person"? I read it through and through and is still puzzled.

Because double negatives portray positive, so logically it says "It's because you're a worthy person." So it contradicts the top priority previously mentioned. The principle "First come, first served" doesn't consider whether you're a worthy person.

So I wonder whether the speaker has made a grammatical mistake.

When these decisions have to be made, however, “health care workers should be the top priority,” Emanuel said, because they “save other people and put themselves purposely in harm’s way to save others.”

The goal is to “save the most lives and the most life years,” he said. “First come, first served doesn’t hold true. It’s not because you’re not a worthy person.”

Source: USAToday Mar.22, 2020
'Who lives and who dies': In worst-case coronavirus scenario, ethics guide choices on who gets care
  • lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    There’s no mistake. If people don’t get the care that might save them, it’s not because they’re unworthy (they’re just as worthy of it as anyone else!). It’s simply because it becomes essential to prioritise.


    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    No. The comment is addressed to people who do not get tested/treated etc because a health care worker gets priority/preferential treatment. Normally the first to come would be the first to get treated. (That's the "First come first served, but it no longer applies (does not hold true). You been turned away, not because you are unworthy, even if you were first in line, but because someone else has higher priority.


    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    I don't know if that is a double negative. The noes are applying to two different things, I think. Not all sentences with two instances of "no" are double negatives.

    No, I'm not going

    is not a double negative (and there only 4/5 words).

    The first "not" in the original applies to the reason, the second "not" applies to the quality of the person.

    It’s not because you’re not a worthy person.

    The reason that you are being passed over for treatment is not because you are not worthy.
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