Post by Chrysi Cat Post by Stefan Ram
"Definite" here means "indisputable; certain" (it also could
mean "obvious"), and the second phrase is not incorrect.
Although now that I look at the combination of the sentence and who said
it, the double negative MAY have been intended as an emphatic and not as
a negation of the single negative, since English is seemingly the only
language that supports negation of a negative.
No, German works pretty much the same: double negative = positive in
formal register, but emphatic negative in many dialects and some
Even down to details: I'd read "not incorrect" as a less solid
endorsement than "correct" in English, and likewise the parallel
constructions in German. And this construction can indicate either
hesitation or (in different examples than this) just understatement.
The seeds of new thought, sown in a ground that isn't prepared
to receive them, don't bear fruit.
-- Hedwig Dohm (1874), my translation