"コーヒーはすくなくないです。"

Translation:There is not a small amount of coffee.

6/14/2017, 10:41:43 AM

111 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Alec.Fitzgerald
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すくない[少ない] appears to be a negative in this form but here we see it transform from い-form to く-form to take the negative affix. (すくな-い >>すくな-く-ない) This translates to there isn't too little, meaning there is just enough.

Though I'm not sure Japanese works the same way, this reminds me of Mandarin, where you often say something is not small or not bad to imply it is big or good. The indirectness somewhat raises how polite the sentence is.

6/15/2017, 10:33:14 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Maeldryn

Thank you for explaining this! The double negatives were starting to drive me nuts. Now that I understand that there might be a reason for it, I feel less inclined to complain.

In the land of the Orient, where double negatives are not only grammatically correct, they are polite! Grumble

6/17/2017, 8:23:46 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/telemetry
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I think the point Alec is making is that 少ない isn't a negative form, it's an adjective that just looks like one. So the negative form is the usual い -> くない ending change, 少なくない

(I hope I've got this right, I had a quick look at a dictionary to check!)

6/18/2017, 12:45:15 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/Maeldryn

Ah I get it now. So it isn't double negation then? Is it just a weird looking ー'い' adjective then?

6/19/2017, 8:21:50 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/V2Blast
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Yep. 少ない means "little/few" or sometimes "insufficient". By negating it, you get the meaning "not a little" - in other words, "a lot", or "enough".

6/22/2017, 9:17:22 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/Xyvyrianeth

To expand further, the on'yomi for is しょう, the same for (notice the visual similarities), and they both have similar meanings:

- small (in size)

- small (in quantity)

12/29/2017, 8:09:24 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/thomasleft
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わからなくはない。

7/20/2017, 2:43:31 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/BlueRaja1

It's not grammatically incorrect in English either (see what I did there?)

10/24/2017, 9:46:03 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/NickeL9740
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So it means it's also grammatically correct in english either. Same idea in Chinese Mandarin(My first language). But people in US more likely says double negative sentence as negative like " i don't have no money."literally translates into Chinese as 我不是没有钱...SO you do have money, but you dont want to show up.

1/28/2018, 6:36:20 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/WillowsofXihu
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"I don't have no money" (in its colloquial, emphatic, though non-standard usage) is closer to 我一点钱都/也没有 in meaning, as it is used to emphasize that "I don't have any money at all". 我不是没有钱 would be "It's not that I don't have money" or "I don't NOT have money (but...)" with the stress on the "not".

6/10/2018, 4:51:00 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/satwita
Plus
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There is a difference in English between saying "I don't NOT have enough money" and "I don't have have no money," and "I don't have NO money." The first one, while awkward, means that you do have sufficient money. The second one is a dialectal variation for saying "I don't have any money." The last one -- with a spoken emphasis on no -- emphasizes that you are not completely without money. So while grammarians will tell you that double negatives are not acceptable in standard English, they are only referring to the second use.

2/17/2018, 6:07:39 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/MexicoMadness
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JUST TO SAVE YOU SOME TIME BEFORE YOU GET INTO THIS DISCUSSION TOO MUCH, A JAPANESE NATIVE TOLD ME, "WE NEVER USE THIS".

9/24/2017, 1:56:06 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/3Rton

Well what do they use???

3/30/2018, 7:39:48 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Toto943537

Yes my wife said same..and i live four years in Japan i never heard that sentence

10/11/2018, 12:07:19 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/azureviolin

yep, confirmed the mandarin part. not necessarily polite but sure works the same way in other senses.

8/28/2017, 1:38:11 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/Mr.rM
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Yeah, I think such wording is “tactful”, not necessarily polite. We may guess it is not a lot, but not too little either. But if we know there is actually a lot, then the person is either being humble or showing off.

3/31/2018, 12:54:41 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/denimbluesky

Thank you This one has been too confusing

11/28/2018, 8:25:21 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Joe264823

But in another sentence they used the negative to say is it not a little? How can I learn the correct usage this way?

2/23/2019, 10:18:38 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/NikRamakrishnan

少(すく)なくない literally means "It is not that there is not enough" which, when simplified, means "there is enough." Double negation is used in a polite manner, as mentioned by Alec.

6/18/2017, 9:36:15 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/kurros
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But my Japanese friends tell me this isn't true. They say the "nai" here has nothing to do with negation, this just happens to be an "i" adjective that ends in "nai". So sukunai means "not much" or "a small amount", but "suku" isn't the opposite of that. Sukunakunai is. Likewise there is no "sukunaku" by itself. So there is actually just one negative: sukunakunai is the negative of sukunai, where the "nai" there is just the normal adjective ending for that word.

3/8/2018, 10:09:02 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/thenakedoracle

Cool. Finally I underrstand this. God bless my Japanese college teacher but her English was as bad as my Japanese and this was something I always struggled wirh. It's not not so simple ;)

7/5/2017, 10:53:06 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Mawticus

I'm curious about the English translation. With previous negation questions, we would be marked wrong for providing a positive translation, e.g. 古くないです cannot be translated as "it is new". It might just be me, but I think that the literal translation would have done a better job of highlighting the way negation is working here.

1/31/2018, 11:35:29 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Nathlia136601

すくなくなくなくなくなくなくなくなくない

10/2/2017, 11:53:01 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/amexxxx
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Answer: すくない

たぶん・・・

12/15/2017, 5:38:42 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/IsolaCiao
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よくないコレ?コレよくない?よくなくなくなくなくなくない?

(You probably weren't making a Konya wa Boogie Back reference, but let's all enjoy the greatest Japanese rap song ever anyway.)

7/30/2018, 2:08:37 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/grippygecko

たいへんだけど!

2/20/2019, 10:36:48 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/Achimx

Japan be hitting us with those triple negatives

9/24/2017, 6:26:45 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/azureviolin

珈琲は少なくないです

8/1/2017, 7:52:13 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/christopht341622

"There is enough coffee." ?!??!?! This seems flawed.

6/14/2017, 10:41:43 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/FrederickEason
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少ない means "insufficient", "scarce", "few", "seldom", "little", etc. So putting it in the negative form (keep in mind that 少ない is the positive form, despite ending in ない), 少なくない means "not insufficient", "not scarce", or in other words "enough", "sufficient".

コーヒーは少なくないです。- There is enough coffee.

1/6/2018, 8:13:17 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/Joe264823

But wasn't there an exercise where duolingo said sakunakunai meant isn't that not a little.

Or was just an interpretation al thing, or did they use sukunai and I mixed it up?

2/23/2019, 10:22:26 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/IsolaCiao
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少ないです。 (sukunai desu) - it's a small amount

少なくないです。 (sukunakunai desu) - it's not a small amount

少なくないですか? (sukunakunai desu ka) - isn't it a small amount? (I think it's a small amount, don't you?)

2/23/2019, 1:25:47 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Joe264823

But shouldn't it be

Isn't it a not small amount?

Anyhow very confusing. Thx for the answer

2/23/2019, 1:42:57 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Joe264823

And what does sukunai desu ka mean then?

2/23/2019, 1:46:29 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/IsolaCiao
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少なくないですか (sukunakunai desu ka) - isn't it a small amount? (I expect you to agree with me that it's a small amount)

少ないですか? (sukunai desu ka) - is it a small amount? (I don't know if you think it's a small amount or not)

Negative Japanese questions often don't mean the same thing as a direct translation into English. It's confusing at first.

2/23/2019, 2:05:13 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Shadd518
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Are "plenty of" and "enough" considered the same in this instance? If not, how would you say there is plenty of coffee?

7/25/2017, 2:26:16 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/Maeldryn

Yes they are considered the same in this instance (just like in English). While "plenty of" and "enough" are not the same, they both share the property of being the opposite of "insufficient." Therefore they could both be used here. Because the English language frowns upon the use of negative negation (or kind of a form of double negative) an opposite word gets used. This results in a difference between the exact translation and the grammatically correct translation, and you have to guess which one is intended.

7/28/2017, 3:11:22 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/nich227
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コーヒーは少なくないです。

3/11/2018, 3:55:34 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/joeTatt1
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Sukunai = adjective scarce, short, little, few eg kongetsu wa ame ga sukunakatta (we have had little rain this month - this month wa rain ga was scarce). Sukunaku nai = negative form not scarce, short, little ie quite a lot, plenty.

10/10/2017, 7:53:02 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/krystaliseh

Is this an example of double negation making an affirmation?

6/14/2017, 6:01:36 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/mattarod

No. Sukunai is not the negation of some hypothetical adjective sui. It is an adjective that just so happens to confusingly (for learners) end in kunai. Just like how, in english, the noun "dress" is single despite ending in S, and its plural form "dresses" adds yet another S.

7/3/2017, 7:43:01 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/sbewsey

That's a really nice example, thanks!

7/6/2017, 9:15:47 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/RamomNF
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So,is すくない a different adj, but with the negative meaning of すこし ? This couple is driving me crazy

6/18/2017, 11:53:26 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/V2Blast
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You're close. 少し is an adverb, and 少ない is an adjective. Also, 少し doesn't have the negative connotation that 少ない has.

6/22/2017, 9:22:30 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/JeffWhite373278

But 少ない isn't the negative form, 少なくない is. 少ない by itself means "few".

8/16/2017, 1:02:43 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/V2Blast
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I didn't say it was the negative form, I said it had a negative connotation.

8/17/2017, 4:26:12 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/Julie592508

I put "It's enough coffee" and I got it wrong because of the "It" There is no prepositional indicator in the Japanese sentence so "It's enough or there's enough" should be acceptable.

12/28/2017, 3:38:29 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/DimyPour
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Do japanese really talk in this unorthodox ways?

10/30/2018, 9:14:22 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/IsolaCiao
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I think that rather than being an example of a sentence commonly used in Japanese, this sentence is here to teach about negating a strange -i adjective.

すくないです。 (It's a small amount.)

すくなくないです。 (It's not a small amount.)

10/30/2018, 11:53:35 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Joshua864073

However, this seems strange in Japanese. Like in english, you would'nt say: "There is not not enough coffee" Youd say: "There is enough coffee."

10/7/2017, 4:22:53 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/jamoozy
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Indeed, it's this way in Japanese, too. You see, the ない in すくない is deceiving, in that it appears to be a negation but is, in fact, just part of the word. Check it out:

http://jisho.org/search/%E3%81%99%E3%81%8F%E3%81%AA%E3%81%84

As you can see, すくない is defined as: few; a little; scarce; insufficient; seldom

Therefore, すくなくない would mean not those things :-)

12/14/2017, 11:01:52 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/joaquintoral

This is getting frustrating. In some sentences, they won't accept "enough" but would accept "there isn't not enough". But in this sentence, they accept "enough" when you used "there isn't not enough".

10/19/2017, 12:15:22 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/PrestonWat7

This question reminds me of the episode of Jimmy Neutron where Sheen got smart and pulled this kind of wording on the teacher.

2/13/2018, 3:07:48 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/satwita
Plus
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I think a better translation of 少ない (すくない ) is "insufficient" rather than not enough. So we could look at this sentence as "There is not insufficient coffee." Without context, however, you would not use this sentence in English to state that there was enough coffee. However, if there was very little coffee and someone claimed there wasn't enough (to serve to a group, for example) you could say that the coffee wasn't insufficient for this group.

I actually think it might be used the same way in Japan. It's true that double negatives can be used to soften a statement (I don't dislike the coffee in answer to "Do you like the coffee?" -- meaning "I don't actually dislike it, but ... ) I don't think this is the case here though as we're talking about an actual fact rather than someone's opinion about something.

2/17/2018, 6:22:06 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/FAlter5

少ない heißt "wenig". Einfacher als auf Englisch. https://www.wadoku.de/entry/view/1682926

5/28/2018, 6:53:08 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/RobertKinzie

The 'correct' translation given is "There is enough coffee."

8/16/2018, 2:56:37 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/Theo763305
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This would only be said to contradict someone who said the amount of coffee was small. In other words, no one would ever ever say this in real English. Fake English!

8/30/2018, 3:48:05 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Beebee201909

コーヒーはすくなくないないないです,

10/12/2018, 6:43:00 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Elysiatan1

Is there a better English translation for this? It doesn't make sense and wouldn't be used in everyday conversation.

10/20/2018, 3:33:43 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/yession
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How about "the coffee is not a small amount"?

10/26/2018, 1:34:58 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/AmaranthZi

There is not a little coffee was wrong

11/7/2018, 12:04:30 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/Israndiel2

Every time I see this sentence I get an urge to violently punch the one who says this in English...

11/10/2018, 4:24:27 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Juxtavarious

Literal translations are broken English.

12/9/2018, 2:53:35 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/thierry589868
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There's not a few coffee was noted wrong... I am really mistaking?

12/30/2018, 7:47:48 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/IsolaCiao
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"Coffee" is an uncountable noun, and we can't use "a few" with uncountable nouns.

12/30/2018, 9:09:45 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Israndiel2

Actually, if you use it as uncountable it acts like "sugar". Two sugars is two cubes of sugar, and "two coffees" is two cups of coffee, so that's not the case really. However, I think "すくない" is only used for uncountables.

12/31/2018, 8:39:00 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/denimbluesky

It's unclear to me if this means there is not even a small amount or no coffee, or that there is a large amount or enough coffee. I never heard this used in Japan. I learned けっこです to mean I have had enough or a satisfactory amount but not sure it can be used more generally that there is enough of something.

There is a japanese idiom or proverb that goes "Once you've seen Nikko you can say kekko" but I don't remember the proper japanese

12/30/2018, 8:21:34 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/h1dsaMde
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I'm sorry but I don't know what this English translation means. Does it mean that there isn't even a little coffee? Does it mean that there is a lot of coffee? This lesson is full of lines like this. It may mean something specific to Japanese speakers but if I don't understand it in English or in Japanese then it is meaningless to me. Surely we can come up with a less ambiguous English translation than this.

1/12/2019, 2:16:51 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/LL066

I didn't get this lesson at all...

1/15/2019, 6:39:31 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/jamoozy
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Might "We have enough coffee" be am acceptable translation?

8/1/2017, 9:28:25 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/MexicoMadness
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Jamoozy, my answer had to be chosen from given word rectangles, so the only answer was "There is enough coffee". In English we usually say "we have enough coffee" so I think it should be an acceptable answer. More important though: A NATIVE SPEAKER TOLD ME, "WE NEVER SAY THIS". Even though he understood what it meant.

9/24/2017, 1:52:52 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/sofffff0
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For it to be 'We', there would have to be a 私たち(わたしたち/watashitachi) in the Japanese sentence, right? Someone please correct me if I'm wrong.

9/3/2017, 3:31:22 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Edikan2
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Why is "it's enough coffee" incorrect?

8/3/2017, 10:16:52 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/orineu
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"it's enough (object)" is not grammatically correct because both "it" and "(object)" are trying to be the subject of the sentence. In writing, one would use "there/that is" instead of "it is".

("that is enough" is used specifically to denote that you don't want any more, and so may not be correct for all contexts covered by "there is enough")

12/26/2017, 7:19:10 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Nexus227
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Shouldn't the は be replaced with が? I don't know; I might be confusing them.

10/20/2017, 2:46:04 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/ChristophP89013

Arrgh double negative form making things rough

1/5/2018, 9:48:22 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/FrederickEason
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It is not a double negative. 少ない (すくない) is simply an I-adjective that ends with ない.

1/6/2018, 8:18:50 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/Lloyd76445

Yeah I don't understand how this translates to "enough"

1/27/2018, 10:18:57 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/sotnosen93

As V2Blast has already explained, すくない translates to, among other things, "insufficient", meaning "not enough". Therefore its negative すくなくない can be translated to "not insufficient", meaning "enough" (or other quantities that are not insufficient, like for example a lot).

If you don't do so already, please read through the whole comment section before asking your questions to see if they've already been answered.

11/8/2018, 10:43:27 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/lastinferno

Why would you even say it like this?

2/10/2018, 6:09:57 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Kenchan114331

I've been enjoying Duolingo but my Japanese wife is getting very irritated because she says the pronunciations are often strange or the translations are just plain wrong, as in this case. The Japanese word for 'enough' is 'jubun', which is not used in this sentence. She says no Japanese speaker says, 'This is enough coffee' like this.

2/24/2018, 7:32:09 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/Theo763305
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When would someone EVER say this???

8/24/2018, 4:56:23 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Mike899735

Why not just say.....There is a lot of coffee. Double negatives are strange in most languages.

9/1/2018, 6:41:17 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/toastedbunz
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9/21/2018, 1:40:36 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/Jesse592332

Delete this

1/5/2019, 4:12:50 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/Thkgk
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Why is "The Coffee is enough." wrong?

11/19/2017, 7:47:38 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/jamoozy
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Perhaps because it's not quite grammatical English? No one that I know of says it that way. If you ignore that, the meaning is the same, so you could report it if you feel strongly that it should be accepted.

11/20/2017, 1:44:06 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/Thkgk
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I tried to translate literally. You're right, it sounds strange. A better translation is "It's pretty much coffee." (少なくない means "quite a lot")​

11/26/2017, 2:48:30 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/orineu
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unfortunately that is still not quite correct, although i see where you're coming from. "pretty much" is a phrase that means something like "seems very close to being".

For example, "(this liquid) is pretty much coffee," "no it's not! it's some weird boiled leaf juice that can't even be called tea!"

少く (すくなく) is actually in the dictionary as "few", "not enough", so the negative form 少くない would be "not few" instead of "too much". above, it seems you've double negated "sukuna" and I'm not sure that's grammatically plausible.

12/26/2017, 7:29:34 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/sotnosen93

少くない isn't a negative (well, not for what you think; according to my online dictionary it's negative for 少い, but that's marked as "Irregular okurigana usage"), and 少く isn't even a word (according to said dictionary at least). 少ない is just an adjective that happens to LOOK like a negative by coincidence. The negative form of 少ない is 少なくない, which is NOT a double negative.

11/8/2018, 10:49:18 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/my_name_is_iain

For me, Duolingo does not accept "it is enough coffee". as a correct answer. Shouldn't あります be used when referring to something as existing in quantity, as suggested by "there is"?

12/23/2017, 11:05:22 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/RebeccaW209814

No one freaking says this.ever. jyuubun.

1/8/2018, 4:09:35 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/jamoozy
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What about if someone first claims that there isn't enough? E.g., could the following conversation take place?

A:「コーヒーは少ないです」

B:「いいえ、少なくないですよ」

I seems reasonable to me that one might use this sentence to negate 少ない if it was previously used, no? (Note: I'm not a native speaker, so I'm really curious to know.)

1/8/2018, 5:49:13 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Little_Tatws
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I was confused, but now I'm not.

1/20/2018, 3:53:46 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/ECB558694
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Why do some すくなくない sentences translate to "There is enough" and some to "there isn't not enough"?

3/8/2018, 2:33:26 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/margaret711539
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This is bizarre English.

6/13/2018, 8:12:49 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/Toto943537

Mendoucsai des....

10/11/2018, 12:05:40 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/Joshua864073

Hint: Sukunaku nai すくなく ない: not not enough coffee.

A double negative makes a postive making it:

There is enough coffee

10/7/2017, 4:20:36 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/FrederickEason
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少ない (すくない) is not a negative adjective, so there is no double negative when saying 少なくない.

1/6/2018, 8:17:58 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/SanadaRin
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I KNEW there'd be so many comments on this sentence!!!! this is not helping my headache, at all! lmao ―₃―

10/31/2017, 2:41:10 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/CarboKill
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AAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH

11/5/2017, 10:06:53 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/NickeL9740
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Double negative sentence appears now. 双重否定句,Same idea in Chinese Mandarin(My first language). But people in US more likely says double negative sentence as negative like " i don't have no money."literally translates into Chinese as 我不是没有钱...SO you do have money, but you don‘t want to show up.

1/28/2018, 6:37:23 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Bjorn_SE

Duolingo doesn't not not try to not teach us not to not use no double negatives, at all.

7/26/2018, 5:07:10 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/JohnPMChappell
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There's no double negative, as covered multiple times before you posted.

8/23/2018, 12:54:57 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/Kyo2018

Trippy

12/14/2017, 1:57:14 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/katharinalouise

Your remark to sukunakunai is not right. There should be a explanation to it..

7/25/2017, 6:04:23 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/AmaranthZi

I strongly dislike this

7/10/2017, 3:08:08 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/maxi361984

This has to be an error

6/15/2017, 1:05:46 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/KaterinaRuud
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It's not

6/26/2017, 9:36:34 AM
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