<Not>Seldom does he visit his parents.

sagar grammar

Senior Member
Dear members.

I was surprised to see such a sentence carrying "not" with the word "seldom".
My book says it is correct, but if "seldom" itself is negative, why should it be used with "not"?

1- Not seldom does he visit his parents.
2- Seldom does he visit his parents.

So, does "not seldom" means "very often"?

Is it a kind of double negative, when they used they carry a positive meaning?

Thanks in advance. :)


  • Hercules Grytpype-Thynne

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    It would be very unusual in speech. But it sounds literary to me, and in certain types of writing it wouldn't astound me to find something like this.


    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    It's an old-fashioned and rather grand way of starting a sentence, so when it peters out to "visit his parents", the effect is somewhat incongruous.

    Not seldom do governments fail to realise that the success of policy depends wholly upon the amount of armed strength not only available but ready for its enforcement.
    The Spectator (1911)
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