multiple negations

Tavshan

Member
English - England
Sziastok... kérdésem van.
In Standard English, we can have only one negation per sentence,
e.g. we say nobody ever gives anything to anybody, not nobody never gives nothing to nobody.
However, in Hungarian one can have more than one negations, for emphasis. But how many?
Can one say, for example (perhaps with a different word order), soha senki sem ad semmit senkinek ?

Köszönöm szépen...
 
  • francisgranada

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    I'd say it would be more neutral not to begin with "soha", e.g. Senki sem ad senkinek soha semmit.

    Finally, I can imagine that even in English, in spite of a more fixed word order than we have in Hungarian, it would be possible to begin the sentence with never (Never gives anybody anything to anybody) and perhaps it would be less neutral, as well (correct me if I'm wrong}.

    (It's a bit difficult to determine objectively what is neutral and what is not, because practically whatever we say, it happens in a certain context)
     
    Last edited:

    Tavshan

    Member
    English - England
    Thank you francisgranada.
    Yes, you can start the sentence with never in English too, but that is quite emphatic,
    and it also requires a particular syntax: never does anybody give anything to anyone.
    Of course, nobody ever gives anything to anyone is the most 'natural' word order.
    The construction you suggested (never gives anybody anything to anybody) is not used.
     
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