Partial Negation

In English there are so many kinds of words, phrases, idioms, and sentences implying negation. It requires careful consideration to deal with them. Here we talk about partial negation.   When we refer to persons or things, three degrees of affirmation apply: full affirmative, partial affirmative and full negative. Examples of words in these three cases are given below:
  1. a.       Full Affirmative
All, both, everyone, everybody, everything, everywhere, always, altogether, entirely (wholly);
  1. b.      Partial Affirmative
Some, one or the other, someone, somebody, something, somewhere, sometimes, somewhat, in some degree;
  1. c.       Full Negative
None, neither (nor), no one, nobody, nothing, nowhere, never, nowise, not at all;   In a simple sentence, the cases that the negative word “not” follows or precedes the words in these three categories show interesting differences: 1.1. Partial affirmative + not keeps the meaning partially affirmative: Some students are not here.≈Some students are here. 1.2. Not + full negative makes the meaning partially affirmative: Not many people have anywhere to live. =Most people have somewhere to live. 不是很多人没有地方住。 Not all imperatives have no subjects. =Some imperatives have subjects. 不是所有的祈使句都没有主语。 1.3. “Not for anything” makes the meaning partially negative or partially affirmative: All these investigations are not done for nothing. 这些调查并非都是白做的。 She would not have done so for nothing. 没有一些意图,她是不会这么做的。 Oh, you must have done something to the child. She would not have cried like that for noting. 啊!你一定惹翻了这孩子,不然她是不会哭成这个样子的。 I’ll take it then. Not for noting. I’ll give you something in return. 那么我拿了。不是没有代价的,我将回敬你一些东西。 1.4. Full affirmative + not / not + full affirmative makes the meaning partially affirmative or partially negative. Careless beginners are liable to make mistakes here. *all… not… = not all = some *everybody … not… = not everybody = somebody/some one/some people *everything … not… = not everything = something/some things *every… not… = not every = some *both… not … = not both = one or the other *always… not… = not always = sometimes *everywhere… not… = not everywhere = somewhere/some places *altogether… not… = not altogether = somewhat In the case of, negative is applied only to a part of the persons or things mentioned in the subject. The word order of partial negation in English is quite different form that in Chinese, though a new tendency of placing the negative word before the subject prevails.
  1. 2.       Examples:
2.1. All that glisters is not gold. All is not gold that glitters. 闪光的东西未必都是黄金。/灿烂者非皆黄金。 All the chemical energy of fuel is not converted into heat. 燃料的化学能并不都能转变为热能。 2.2. A man of learning is not always a man of wisdom. 有学问的人并非都是有智慧的人。 2.3. All men are not born to reign. 人人并非生而成君主。/人人非皆生而为王也。 2.4. All was not ping pong during the Chinese Table Tennis Team’s four-day visit to New York. 中国乒乓球队在纽约的四天访问期间,并不是都在进行乒乓球赛。 2.5. The good and the beautiful do not always go together. 善和美未必总是兼备。/善未必美,美未必善也。 2.6. All the great truths are obvious truths. But all obvious truths are not great truths. 伟大的真理都是显而易见的道理,但不是所有显而易见的道理都是伟大的真理。

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