English as a Second Language/Double Negative


Hi Amy,

How are you? I have some questions about double negatives. Could you help me, please?

Is it a double negative: "It does not displease me"?
Does it mean it please me?
Is "It does not displease me" good English?

I thank you for helping me!

Hey Alex,

Nice hearing from you again. Hope you're doing good.

It doesn't displease me can qualify as a double negative, so can 'I don't disagree'. I have heard native speakers of English using such structures, and depending on the context they may be right or wrong. They do sound somewhat awkward, I agree.

There is something called a LITOTE. Some people occasionally use litotes in order to give a certain flavor to the language.

It doesn't displease me can be interpreted as:

a) It pleases me.
b) It pleases me but I have some reservations.

It all depends on the context.

I don't disagree can translate into:

a) I agree.
b) I think you're right, but I'm not quite sure.

Again the context is what changes the meaning.

Hope this helps.

Take care and keep in touch,


English as a Second Language

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Amy Baker


I can answer question about grammar, spelling, syntax, idioms, reading and/or writing that pertain to English as a Second Language. I am knowledgeable about both TOEFL and IELTS.


I'm a certified ESL teacher with 12 years of experience teaching K-12 and adults.

BSc MEd TESL post grad program for k-12 TESL post grad program for adult ed

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