"Je bent helemaal niet slecht!"
Translation:You are not bad at all!
So, if we were to change the word order so that it said "Je bent niet helemaal slecht" would the meaning shift the same way as it would in English between "You are totally not bad" and "You are not totally bad"? Would "Je bent niet helemaal slecht" remain grammatical?
These kind of translations are frustrating because to be "not bad" in english means "to be quite good". It's hard to get a good feel for what this actually means in dutch, and what it would mean if "niet" was to move about in the sentence. Like, would "je bent helemaal slecht niet" mean something different?
To me, "You are not completely bad", means that you are actually pretty bad, but that possibly you have one or two redeeming qualities; whereas, "You are not bad at all" is a bit of a back-handed compliment that means that you're actually pretty good. So, to me, these do not mean the same thing.
We never say this in English, you are obliging people to learn bad English by insisting on they completing the task your way.