I read that the word 'dissimilar' is frequently used with the particle 'not', isn't it? When I came across a couple of sentences with this word I discovered that the construction looks rather strange to me. For example, can I rephrase the sentence - This house is not dissimilar to the one I was born in - as follows - This house looks like the one I was born in - or should I say: This house doesn't look like the one I was born in?
I think that the first rephrased sentence is correct.

I'm sorry for placing this thread in this forum. I wanted to place it in "General English grammar questions" but mixed up the names.
not dissimilar = more or less similar but not that much


no less than 100 answers = 100 answers or more
This is considered a double negative and they cancel each other out to make a positive. YOu are correct that the sentence "This is not dissimiliar" means "This is similar."
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Thank you. I was pleased to hear that I was right in saying 'not dissimilar' meant 'similar'.
The easy answer is that "not dissimilar" means "similar". It's true in an obvious way. But the use of that sort of double negative gives an extra layer of meaning not completely captured in the easy answer.

Whenever someone says something convoluted like "not dissimilar" when the simpler "similar" would do, we need to ask - Why the complication?

The reason is to avoid saying that it's similar. It's as if the writer wants to be indirect. He doesn't want others to come back to him later and accuse him of saying the houses are similar. "No, no, I never said they were similar!" he can say. The result of all this subtlety is that usually "not dis-X" means "somewhat X", an attenuated form of "X". At least this is not infrequently (i.e., somewhat frequently) what the structure connotes.

In my experience, Americans (because they are so direct and unsubtle when expressing themselves?) don't use this structure very often. Maybe others have observed the same thing.

Hope someone responds to this msg.. have the same while transcribing ---

Its pattern is not dissimilar to that seen -- not and dissimilar can be used together...? I would like someones advice on those two as well.
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If you read this thread, you will find your answer.


Hello Califjim

I think your explanation is good.

I wanna make sure I have understood it correctly.

Not dissimilar means similar.