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Isn't the above sentence using a double-negative? So it should be a positive statement, shouldn't it? However I've found it actually means "I don’t know anything." or "I know nothing." Why is that? How to tell when it means positive and when negative?

I've found an example on the net, "there is not nothing to worry about!" It says this is a positive statement. It's quite confusing.

By the way, a bit off-topic. Should I include the ending punctuation mark of the quoted examples before the last enclosing quotation mark?

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"I don't know nothing" is almost always bad English for "I don't know anything". Occasionally it might be used with its proper meaning of "I know something". For example:

A: I thought you knew nothing.
B: I don't know nothing.

The only way to tell that it might be used correctly is from the context, and also possibly from the education level of the speaker, since educated speakers will not use it to mean "I don't know anything" (except jokingly or knowingly).

The "bad English" use of double negatives, which is limited to colloquial speech, will typically come with contractions where available, e.g. "don't" rather than "do not", and the same is true of your other example. With no other information, "There is not nothing to worry about!" seems likely to mean that there is something to worry about, while "There ain't nothing to worry about" would always mean "There is nothing to worry about".

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healerShould I include the ending punctuation mark of the quoted examples before the last enclosing quotation mark?

Yes.

Correct: She said, "Certainly!" / He asked, "How can that be?"
Not correct: She said, "Certainly"! / He asked, "How can that be"?

CJ

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GPYeducated speakers will not use it to mean "I don't know anything" (except jokingly or knowingly)

Is that meant to be negative or affirmative when used jokingly or knowingly?

GPYwhile "There ain't nothing to worry about" would always mean "There is nothing to worry about".

The upshot is where double-negatives are used with contracted verbs, they are negatives otherwise they should be affirmative. Do I understand correctly? By the way are double-negatives mostly American?

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CalifJimCorrect: She said, "Certainly!" / He asked, "How can that be?"

We never need the punctuation mark, be it period or question mark or exclamation mark etc, for the whole sentence, don't we?

For example:

She said, "Certainly!". / He asked, "How can that be?".

Did she say, "Certainly!"? / Did he ask, "How can that be?"?


By the way should the question tag underlined above be "don't we" or "do we"? I learnt that question tag should always be the opposite of the main verb in the sentence. I'm not too sure if the sentence is regarded to be negative in this sense since "never" is used. I would think so.

healerWe never need the punctuation mark, be it period or question mark or exclamation mark etc, for the whole sentence, don't do we?

No. We never put two punctuation marks in a row (except if quotation marks are used).

healer

She said, "Certainly!". / He asked, "How can that be?".

Did she say, "Certainly!"? / Did he ask, "How can that be?"?

No, no, no. The count of punctuation marks is in red in each case above. (Note that the quotation marks are not part of the count.)

healerBy the way should the question tag underlined above be "don't we" or "do we"?

"do we" I've already correct that above. 'never', 'nobody', 'no', 'not', etc. all count as negatives.

CJ

healerIs that meant to be negative or affirmative when used jokingly or knowingly?

Educated speakers will use "I don't know nothing" to mean "I don't know anything" only in joking imitation of bad English.

healerThe upshot is where double-negatives are used with contracted verbs, they are negatives otherwise they should be affirmative. Do I understand correctly?

In the examples that you mentioned, typically, but this is not a cast-iron rule to be relied upon, and would not necessarily apply to other types of double negative.

healerBy the way are double-negatives mostly American?

No.

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Thanks for help!

CalifJim"do we" I've already correct that above. 'never', 'nobody', 'no', 'not', etc. all count as negatives.

I understand as a rule, the question tag was always expressed the opposite of the main verb of the sentence. Is it still possible to say the other way when one expects such answer? Please comment!

By the way, I still remember you recommended not to use "one" but "someone" instead. Somehow I felt I had to use "one" above. I felt that "someone" could refer to a specific person whether we know or not when I here tried to say here anyone including strangers.

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