English as a Second Language/tag question

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Question
Hello. Please tell me if the below sentences are correct or no. Do they have positive or negative meaning? In case one or both are correct, what are the tag questions for them.Thank you.

A. there isn't little water in the kettle.
B. there isn't a little water in the kettle.

Answer
Dear Hamed,

The sentences are incorrect, in such a way that it is impossible to tell what the desired meaning would be. I am going to give you some examples of sentences with correct meanings, and from these, perhaps you will be able to choose the one(s) that expess the meaning desired.

- There is little water in the kettle. (There is some water in the kettle, but not much.)
- There isn't any water in the kettle. (The kettle contains no water.)
- There is only a little water in the kettle. (There is some water in the kettle, but not much.)
- There is hardly any water in the kettle. (There is almost no water in the kettle.)

You may find this link interesting. In standard English,the use of two negatives in a sentence makes one negative cancel out the other, to produce a positive. In the sentences about, the word "little" (not much) is used as a negative, to combining it with "isn't" (contraction "is not")produces a positive.  http://examples.yourdictionary.com/examples-of-double-negatives.html

In colloquial dialects, however, as in slang, double negatives are often used without producing a positive. Most well-educated people, however, would have a negative perception of this usage.

Changing the subject: It is terribly important to begin sentences with a capital letter, which you forgot to do in your examples. A man who did the hiring for a large South Carolina company once told me that if someone omits the capital letter at the beginning of a sentence on the English test everyone is given when applying for a job, he would not be hired because the executive would consider him illiterate. Furthermore, if the applicant knew that it is necessary to begin a sentence with a capital letter but failed to do so, the executive said that is worse, because the applicant is careless, and might cost the company thousands of dollars. He said he might hire the person to sweep floors, but for nothing else.

I am aware that some languages do not have different forms for capital and non-capital letters, so if your language does not make such a distinction, I can see that it might be hard to remember how important this factor is in English. In writing Farsi, for instance, since the form of the writing itself is considered to be an important art form, this could be of esthetic importance as well as grammatical. In most of your question, you have capitalized correctly, but the sentences A and B lack the capitals at the beginning. Please forgive me for calling this to your attention; it is my desire to be of the greatest possible help.

Regards,

Prof. Evona York  

English as a Second Language

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Prof. Evona York, UABC

Expertise

I can help with almost anything having to do with English as a Second Language, including grammar and syntax, the basic skills (reading, writing, listening, speaking), etc. I am happy to help with proofreading and advice, but will not do homework for people. I CAN HELP WITH SHORT QUESTIONS, but because I am swamped with translations at the moment, I DO NOT HAVE TIME FOR LONG ONES. I'd like to help you make your English even better. The goal of a good teacher is to teach the student TO LEARN HOW TO LEARN. So if you want to know what a word means, first look it up at Merriam Webster’s Learners Dictionary at http://www.learnersdictionary.com/pronex/pronex.htm. This is a wonderful site, especially for people who are learning English as a Foreign Language. After you have done that, if you still don't understand the meaning, write to me and tell me what the dictionary said, and what you think it means. I will be glad to help you after you have tried for yourself to find out the meaning. This process will help you grow in your already-excellent English. All the best, Prof. Evona York

Experience

I taught for a number of years at the Autonomous University of Baja California, am now retired from teaching, but working fulltime as a translator, and MOU Academic Liaison (academic exchange). Many years as translator for "Revista Electrónica de Investigación Educativa" redie.ens.uabc.mx. Online magazine of the Institute for Educational Research. Present: Translator and MOU Academic Liaison: UABC Department of International Alliance and Academic Exchange. Many yeart tutoring and private classes English a foreign/second language. Designer and teacher of interlinguistic EFS/ESL language; presenter of Experimental EFL Method, FEULE. Estensive experience in song translation English, Spanish, many other languages.

Publications
"Revista Electrónica de Investigación Educativa" redie.ens.uabc.mx Many articles online. Many examples of my work, both as a researcher and a translator, are online. Translator: English version, biography of Frida Kahlo sold at The Blue House museum, Mexico City. Translator: “Glutatión, la clave para tu salud” by Jimmy Gutman MD, kudo.ca communications, Canada. 2014

Education/Credentials
Graduate of the School of Languages, Autonomous University of Baja California. Holder of Cambridge University's Certificate for Overseas Teachers of English.

Past/Present Clients
Translator for "Revista Electrónica de Investigación Educativa" redie.ens.uabc.mx.Online magazine of the Institute for Educational Research. Present clients: Translator and MOU Academic Liaison: UABC Department of International Alliance and Academic Exchange. Translator: English version, biography of Frida Kahlo sold at The Blue House museum, Mexico City. Translator: “Glutatión, la clave para tu salud” by Jimmy Gutman MD, kudo.ca communications, Canada. 2014

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