Double Negatives

Double negatives are rarely needed in scientific reporting. More often than not, they render statements clumsy and difficult to grasp. A second negative usually cancels the first. Table 6.1 lists some common double negatives and offers a positive alternative.

Table 6.1 Double Negatives and Their Positive Meaning

CONFUSING DOUBLE NEGATIVES

PREFERABLE (POSITIVE STATEMENT)

Diabetes is not uncommon among hypertensive patients.

Diabetes is common among hypertensive patients.

Not very many of the laboratory tests were negative.

Most laboratory tests were positive.

Nausea and vomiting were not infrequently Nausea and vomiting were frequently reported during the treatment phase. reported during the treatment phase.

Although the DNA sequencing was not unsuccessful, we decided to repeat it.

Although the DNA sequencing was successful, we decided to repeat it.

It is not unusual for scientists to hypothesize too readily.

Scientists tend to hypothesize too readily.

Resistance development was reported neither in experimental studies nor in clinical trials.

Resistance development was not reported, either in experimental studies or in clinical trials.

Or (though less common): Resistance development was reported in neither experimental studies nor clinical trials.

Q If the statement is positive, state it in the positive.

Get Paid Taking Surveys In Your Spare Time

Get Paid Taking Surveys In Your Spare Time

You won’t want to miss this. Get Paid Taking Surveys In Your Spare Time. I know what you’re thinking, ‘Oh great, another get rich quick scheme’. WRONG! This is your guide to making money from home by participating in paid surveys on the internet.

Get My Free Ebook


Post a comment