I haven’t written a ‘word’ entry in a while so here’s one……

Sometimes when Someone asks me something I reply in a double negative using a comic voice to let him know the grammar mistake is intentional.

I don’t have no energy to cook; let’s order out. 

As a novice to the Order of Guardians of the Grammar-xy I took to heart the prescriptive rule one does not use ‘double negatives’. To do so was a sign of poor education and low class and you were a member of a bowling club and (from a mathematical point of view) double-negatives turn the statement into a positive, the opposite of what the speaker wants to illustrate.

I didn’t want no mayo on my sandwich.

Mick Jagger committed an egregious error when he sang “I can’t get no satisfaction’. Rather he should have said “I can’t any satisfaction’  which of course isn’t as sonorous or as good a rhythm. I sense Mr. Jagger (always the maverick) is thumbing his nose at his naughty defiance of proper grammar in his lyrics.

I smell a rat. As a boy I figured the more negatives I added gave descriptive emphasis of my disdain.  I was disappointed I could not do so. 

I don’t want no mayo on no sandwich no time never.  

Later in life I learned the no-double-negative rule is a relatively new ‘law’ and using as many ‘negs’ as one needed was once upon a time standard English. In “The Canterbury Tales” Mr. Chaucer describes the Knight (translated from the Old English):

He never yet no villainy no said in all his life and to no manner wight (person). 

This is a – wait for it – a quadruple negative! Mr. Chaucer is emphasizing Mr. Knight was just that virtuous. 

If numerous negatives are good for Mr. Chaucer and Mr. Jagger (fine fellows well over four feet) it is good for me.  It’s time to bring back the multiple negatives if just for the fun of it. It may not be prudent to use in certain situations but they are jolly good fun.  

Tonight at happy hour I plan to order a martini:

Please don’t put no double olives in that no time.

Prescriptive grammar rules may vary but manners are always.