Manual Negatives: A Short Story

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  3. Negatives: A Short Story eBook by Karly Kirkpatrick Kobo Edition |

Sentiment mining assesses the emotional tone of a text by tallying the number and contexts of words with positive and negative connotations, like good, nice, terrible, and horrific.

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Putting aside the wiggles and waves that reflect the crises of the day, we see that the impression that the news has become more negative over time is real. The New York Times got steadily more morose from the early s to the early s, lightened up a bit but just a bit in the s and s, and then sank into a progressively worse mood in the first decade of the new century. News outlets in the rest of the world, too, became gloomier and gloomier from the late s to the present day.

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The consequences of negative news are themselves negative. Far from being better informed, heavy newswatchers can become miscalibrated. Relentless negativity can have other unintended consequences, and recently a few journalists have begun to point them out. One consequence is that many Americans today have difficulty imagining, valuing or even believing in the promise of incremental system change, which leads to a greater appetite for revolutionary, smash-the-machine change.

Media scholars who tally news stories of different kinds, or present editors with a menu of possible stories and see which they pick and how they display them, have confirmed that the gatekeepers prefer negative to positive coverage, holding the events constant.

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But many native English speakers still use double negatives. The first kind of double negative is when two negative words form a positive statement. What Mr. Obama meant is that time is limited for Iran. Politicians, lawyers and diplomats sometimes use this type of double negative in sensitive situations.

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The second type of double negative is when two negatives form a stronger negative. Some people see it as a sign of being poorly educated. But English speakers have been using double negatives for centuries. The first English translation of the Bible by King James used double negatives.

It was Robert Lowth who decided the double negative had no place in English grammar. Robert Lowth was a leader in the Church of England. Lowth proposed many restrictions on English grammar, many of them inspired by Latin.

Negatives: A Short Story eBook by Karly Kirkpatrick Kobo Edition |

Over the years, his rules became the standard for teaching grammar all over the English-speaking world. But the double negative is alive and well, especially in informal speech. In fact, some of the richness of the English language comes from ignoring the rules. The double negative is just one example of the difference between how English is taught in school and how it is sometimes spoken. Look at the sterility of medical equipment v the natural biology of people, germs, and life in general. Winner receives feedback on up to words of a short story or manuscript they have written by one of our volunteers.

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