Would you look at the following sentence?
"Nothing in it, I shouldn't think," said Kate.
(Dead Cert, p128, by Francis)
From context, it obviously means " I should think there is nothing in it."
or I shouldn't think there is anything in it.
In the original sentence, 'think sentence' is independent of the former one, it seems.
'think sentence' in this case seems not to have been uttered as a subject clause to the former.
Is this way of expression general or local?
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Would you look at the following sentence? "Nothing in it, I shouldn't think," said Kate. (Dead Cert, p128, by ... not to have been uttered as a subject clause to the former. Is this way of expression general or local?

I think of that "negative tag of agreement" as primarily British, but the longer I'm out of the States, the harder it is for me to judge that. I might say something like, "You're not going, I don't suppose."

You're right that it's a bit odd the literal meaning suggests "I suppose you're going" but it's actually used to mean "I suppose you're not going." The two negatives reinforce each other, in parallel, instead of contradicting each other. So I agree with your description about "independent."
It's a bit like the "no of agreement"
A: There's no problem here, is there?
B: No, there's no problem.
As opposed to "Yes, there's no problem", which just doesn't sound right.

Best Donna Richoux
"Nothing in it, I shouldn't think," said Kate. (Dead Cert, p128, by Francis) . . .. Is this way of expression general or local?

Not local, but very common in spoken
English. Both clauses are cliches (standard
phrases used in many situations.) Together
(joined by the comma splice) they may be
interpreted as a "double negative," forbidden
by conventional rules of grammar but these
rules do not govern spoken English so
strictly as they govern writing.

Don Phillipson
Carlsbad Springs
(Ottawa, Canada)
Teachers: We supply a list of EFL job vacancies
Would you look at the following sentence? "Nothing in it, ... the former. Is this way of expression general or local?

I think of that "negative tag of agreement" as primarily British, but the longer I'm out of the States, the ... here, is there? B: No, there's no problem. As opposed to "Yes, there's no problem", which just doesn't sound right.

Unless you're a lawyer, or a witness carefully prepped by one.

From the lawyer's perspective, the ideal answer to "There's no problem here, is there?" is just plain "There's no problem." (Speaking here of syntax, not content.)
It really gets interesting when a lawyer asks one of those "is there" or "isn't there" questions and then tries to demand a yes or no answer.
I've seen it happen. Honest.

Liebs
Would you look at the following sentence? "Nothing in it, ... the former. Is this way of expression general or local?

I think of that "negative tag of agreement" as primarily British, but the longer I'm out of the States, the harder it is for me to judgethat.

It's quite American. See the last bullet in the AHD usage note on "double negatives" at . Of course, "Nothing in it" (in this sense) and "I shouldn't think" aren't very American.
...

Jerry Friedman
It really gets interesting when a lawyer asks one of those "is there" or "isn't there" questions and then tries to demand a yes or no answer.

What happens if one simply replies "Correct"?

Katy Jennison
spamtrap: remove the first two letters after the @
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Would you look at the following sentence? "Nothing in it, I shouldn't think," said Kate. (Dead Cert, p128, by Francis)

Is this way of expression general or local?

It's not general and it's not local. As I think someone else has said, it's may be acceptable colloquial English in England and not in America.
Anyway, it brings to mind a remark that was quoted in this mornings Los Angeles Times . A lady in rural Nebraska is saying of her deceased husband, who was an avid reader and accumulator of books
He always said he never read any book but he didn't learn from it
At first reading, I thought it had a double negative, but I soon realized that it did not.
The key to analyzing it seems to be to find an appropriate definition for its use of "but". One possibility is "such that", but there may be better ones. With that substitution we get
He always said he never read any book such that
he didn't learn from it
Rewritten in more typical American style, but without changing the negatives, it's
He always said he never read any book that he
didn't learn from.
Comments?
He always said he never read any book but he didn't learn from it At first reading, I thought it ... but without changing the negatives, it's He always said he never read any book that he didn't learn from. Comments?

He always said he had never read any book from which he didn't learn.

If put this way, it would be perfectly understanable to non-natives.

So, I'd like to put forward an idea of standard English, such as could be shared among non-natives.
You can call it Basic English.
Translation software will be a key point that puts every English into stardard English.
Time or New York Times are put into standard English automatically for non-natives who have gone through the English.
He always said he never read any book but he ... never read any book that he didn't learn from. Comments?

He always said he had never read any book from which he didn't learn. If put this way, it would ... English. Time or New York Times are put into standard English automatically for non-natives who have gone through the English.

I would avoid using the term "Basic English." That was a term applied to a questionable international language product which turned into what some would say was essentially a dishonest trick to lead people into learning one of the standard dialects of English.
Of course, if you were to do a survey and find that the vast majority of people no longer recognize "Basic English" as the scam dialect, then the term could again be available for use. But I'd say something like "Standardized International English" or "SIE" would be a better choice. It would still be quite a trick to convert any of the current standard dialects of English into SIE, though, just as it is now difficult to translate from one language to another using a computer program.

Raymond S. Wise
Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
E-mail: mplsray @ yahoo . com
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