I don’t want to cause no more trouble.

lilyyang tw 台湾

A: I don’t want to cause no more trouble.

B: It’s no trouble.

Is it okay to say that "I don't want to cause no more trouble"? Is it proper?

What comes to my mind is "I don't want to cause any trouble."

Thank you!!!


May 10 at 12:05
  • octopusbuddy us United States

    You are right. It is a common, yet grammatically incorrect way of saying "I don't want to cause any trouble". It is common for less educated people to talk like this. Sometimes well educated people will still say things like this but I think it probably just because that is how they learned to talk when they were growing up.

    May 10 at 17:34
  • hellion gb イギリス

    Yep, as the poster above has said, it's not a "proper" way of saying it but it's used, and it's quite colloquial. You'll sometimes also hear:

    "I don't want no trouble."

    Meaning "I don't want any trouble."

    You'll hear this with other phrases too, like:

    "I ain't (haven't) got no money." To mean: I "haven't got any money."

    I'm fairly sure this kind of colloquial construction is used in other languages too, and sometimes it's even correct, like in the Spanish language.

    May 10 at 18:09
  • bison3 us United States

    This form of speaking is referred to as "Ebonics" It's a type of ghetto talk or slang habitually spoken by African Amerricans.

    May 10 at 21:32
    • WinterShaker gb イギリス

      To be fair, if this is African American Vernacular English (AAVE), it's not fair to call it a slang - it's a full dialect of English in its own right, with some interesting grammatical features that Standard English doesn't have (for instance habitual 'be' - see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Habitual_be )... and one of those features is the double negative.

      May 10 at 23:00
      • octopusbuddy us United States

        I would say it is just bad English. Not really slang but I don't think you can call it a dialect just because a lot of people are bad at grammar. I would also say it is used just a frequently by lower class white people and used infrequently by upper class black people.

        May 10 at 23:07
        • WinterShaker gb イギリス

          Linguists would disagree with you: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/African-American_Vernacular_English . AAVE is well recognised as a distinct dialect in its own right. It's just that because it is a low-status dialect, people that use it tend to get less respect from broader society than if they modify their speech towards Standard English.

          But I suspect that the character here is not trying and failing to speak correct Standard English. Developmentally normal people do not generally reach adulthood having failed to assimilate the full grammatical complexity of the local version of the language spoken by their peer group. What he says is wrong Standard English, but it is correct AAVE.

          By analogy, how would you pronounce '135'? Or what would you call the thing that babies wear to catch the mess when they soil themselves? 'One hundred thirty five' and 'diaper' are correct Standard American English, but they would be wrong Standard British English, in which you would need to say 'One hundred and thirty five' / 'nappy'. But I would not say that someone who said the American versions was using bad English just because they aren't using my national standard language. And I would no more say that someone speaking one of the many English dialects where double negatives are gramatically correct is using bad English if it's clear that they are using correctly a different version of English.

          May 11 at 09:23
          • octopusbuddy us United States

            I think it might come down to semantics. I would say there is not a common consensus among linguists that AAVE is a legitimate dialect, but it doesn't really matter either way. Language is so fluid and subjective that categorizing minor variations is basically just labeling commonalities. Based on that I can see why Ebonics or AAVE could be classified by some as a dialect. I believe that even if it is classified as a dialect it is basically just bad English spoken by a large group of people. But like I said it is very subjective. I think your position is just as valid as mine. I am just offering another point of view.

            May 11 at 11:30
            • WinterShaker gb イギリス

              Well, okay, but by the same token, Standard English is just bad Anglo-Frisian spoken by an extremely large group of people. I am not sure if anyone has any clear idea whether AAVE derives from African Americans learning a local dialect of English that did not have double negatives (and failing to pick up that aspect correctly), or a local dialect that already had double negatives and may have already had double negatives before it was brought to the Americas, and stretching back to before the elevation of the London-and-South-East-England varieties into official status as Standard English, but even then, this is clearly a language evolution that is no more 'wrong' than the fact that we no longer say the 'k' in 'knife' or 'knee', and, assuming everyone else in the community uses the same construction, no more likely to cause confusion and therefore no less effective as a means of communication than using the standard language equivalent. Calling it 'bad English' implies not just a difference of opinion about categorisation, but a value judgement (that the speaker is less able to communicate, or has made a mistake), and it's that that I am pushing back on.

              May 12 at 09:10
  • WinterShaker gb イギリス

    Whether it is proper depends on whether you are learning Standard English (which doesn't use double negatives) or one of the many dialects of English that do use double negatives. In many regional varieties of English it is gramatically proper to say something like 'I don't know nothing', 'I ain't never seen it', 'she hasn't met no one' etc ... it's just that none of them are the varieties of English that happen to be descended from the variety spoken around London which came to be chosen as the standardised registers of the language.

    So although no native English speakers would be confused by this sentence, many would mark it down as wrong because it's not part of the standard language. And I'm afraid that if you are learning English as a foreign language and you use that construction, probably more people will think that you just haven't learned Standard English properly, than that you have properly learned a non-standard variety of English. So probably better not to use it yourself, but to understand what it means.

    May 10 at 23:09
    • lilyyang tw 台湾

      Thank you very much for the suggestion.

      May 11 at 02:02
  • brucenator us United States

    Ah yes, the dread double negative.

    In the song Don't Be Cruel, Elvis Presley sings, "I don't want no other love."

    In the Rolling Stones song Satisfaction, Mick Jagger sings, "I can't get no satisfaction."

    In the Pink Floyd song Another Brick in the Wall, Roger Waters sings, "We don't need no education. We don't need no thought control."

    And in the film O Brother, Where Art Thou? Pete Hogwallop, played by John Turturro, says, "That don't make no sense."

    I'd say there ain't nothing wrong with no double negatives and furthermore I would say that it's not necessarily unacceptable.

    Wait, what did I just say?

    I don't want to cause any more trouble. I don't want to cause no more trouble.

    May 11 at 05:06
  • peterofficial in インド

    That's right... just a tweak

    May 11 at 12:51
  • Deedrio us United States

    No, it is not okay to say this if you're trying to learn natural English. "I don't want to cause no more trouble" is not natural English.

    I grew up on my step dad's side of the family who are predominantly "white," and they would never use this grammar, nor would I. I did however hear my mom's and my biological dad's side of the family who are predominantly "black" speak like this, but they're not uneducated. In the case of my mom's and my biological dad's family, I think them speaking the way they do is a result of generations upon generations of people failing to learn proper English but at no fault of their own. Black people historically have been constantly and intentionally miseducated. I don't know if you know this but, at one point in history it was illegal for black people to even learn how to read.

    There are a lot of factors that play into the reason why a lot of black people speak that way. It's not really their fault, but it's not correct or natural English and everyone learning English as a second language should avoid speaking this way. You may meet some of the smartest black people ever, but because they grew up speaking like their parents, they may be looked down upon because of the way they speak. Their parents may be educated as well, but they just natural continued to pass down ebonics or AAVE. Although I grew up with my mom who spoke mostly like her parents, and I was around her all of my life and sometimes her side of the family, I was still more frequently exposed to my step dad's side of the family and their way of speaking, so I speak like them as a result.

    Not all black people speak ebonics or AAVE, be careful not to prejudge black English tutors because they could actually be one of the best tutors you ever get! ; D

    Interesting experience: Because I speak standard American English, when I first started hanging out with my biological dad and his friends in the ghetto, they were all friendly but weirded out and felt a little uncomfortable me because of the way I speak. They would poke a little fun at me for speaking "proper" English, but now they're just used to it and don't care.

    May 20 at 04:30
    • lilyyang tw 台湾

      Thank you very much for sharing with us.

      May 21 at 00:21
      • walkchap us United States

        As you can see, you've waded into a gnarly controversy for English speakers. I think most people would say that it is incorrect, but to me idea that a grammatical or lingusitic feature that is extremely common and fully understood among a wide range of people is an 'error' is paradoxical. The purpose of language is to communicate things, and it serves the purpose., but the socioeconomic and racial facet of it makes it very difficult to have an impassionate discussion about it. But in any case, I would encourage you to not take anyone's opinion on it as dogma, because it is something people are still constantly arguing about.

        June 24 at 18:10
  • TeacherNia us United States

    No, it is not grammatically correct. It is grammatically incorrect.

    "I don't want to cause no more trouble." (incorrect)

    "I want to cause no more trouble." (correct)

    "I don't want to cause any more trouble." (correct)

    June 24 at 00:43