And, as always, more here.
Jokes I Like to Tell
A pedantic instructor of English grammar at a university was teaching his class, and the question of double negatives came up. As he was one who liked showing off a little, whenever the opportunity arose to display any knowledge of other languages other than English, he would invariably take that opportunity—even if the random bit of knowledge he was going to share didn’t lead to anything particularly useful.
And so, when he had finished the question of double negatives in English, that truth being that our language functions like algebra, and each negative cancels out the previous one, he decided to explain that in Greek, it doesn’t work that way. In Greek, multiplying negatives serves as an intensifier. Thus you could say that you did “not not buy the steak dinner,” and it would mean that you really didn’t. In English, if you said you did not not buy it, that would leave open the possibility that you did.
Having explained this, the instructor was kind of stuck, not knowing how to land his little rabbit trail, and so he then shrugged, and said, “But in no language do two positives make something negative.”
And that was when a voice came from the back of the classroom. “Yeah, right.”