Monday, March 5, 2012

A Blog Post About Nothing

Or maybe it's something. Anything.

¿No van a hacer nada?

¿No te dijo nada?

No te voy a decir nada.

Spanish loves a double negative. None of these sentences are unusual, nor are they hard to render in English. But I've been playing with the subtle differences, weighing the alternatives even when there's not much to weigh. Maybe it's the anything in place of nothing that makes the difference, more than any negative accumulation. Or the difference in formality, in tone. Sometimes having nothing in the sentences truly adds something, so to speak. Ending a sentence with nothing gives that word a certain weight. Then again, it doesn't always sound right. Sometimes, it doesn't sound like anything.

Aren't you going to do anything?
Are you going to do nothing?

Didn't she tell you anything?
Did she tell you nothing?
I won't tell you anything.
I will not tell you a thing.
I will tell you nothing.

What do you think?     

1 comment:

  1. I wanted to comment on this post, but have come up with nothing.