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Allen and Greenough/ New Latin Grammar

Negative Particles

326. Two negatives are equivalent to an affirmative:—

nēmō nōn audiet, every one will hear (nobody will not hear).

nōn possum nōn cōnfitērī; ( Fam. 9.14.1 ), I must confess.

ut ... nē nōn timēre quidem sine aliquō timōre possīmus (Mil. 2), so that we cannot even be relieved of fear without some fear.

a. Many compounds or phrases of which nōn is the first part express an indefinite affirmative:—

nōn nūllus, some; nōn nūllī (= aliquī), some few.

nōn nihil (= aliquid), something.

nōn nēmō (= aliquot), sundry persons.

nōn numquam (= aliquotiēns), sometimes.

b. Two negatives of which the second is nōn (belonging to the predicate) express a universal affirmative:—

nēmō nōn, nūllus nōn, nobody [does] not , i.e. everybody [does]. [Cf. nōn nēmō, not nobody, i.e. somebody. ]

nihil nōn, everything. [Cf. nōn nihil, something. ]

numquam nōn, never not, i.e. always. [Cf. nōn numquam, sometimes.]

c. A statement is often made emphatic by denying its contrary (Litotes , § 641 ):—

nōn semel (= saepissimē), often enough (not once only).

nōn haec sine nūmine dīvom ēveniunt (Aen. 2.777), these things do not occur without the will of the gods.

haec nōn nimis exquīrō; (Att. 7.18.3), not very much, i.e. very little.

Note— Compare nōn nūllus, nōn nēmō, etc., in a above.

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