Lexica (lexica510) wrote,

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Dear Consumerist, you're not as smart as you think you are

From a recent post on Consumerist:
The cameraphone of reader Thomas points us to a classic American slogan that has been bedeviling consumers for decades, "Everybody doesn't like something, but nobody doesn't like Sara Lee." It is shortened on this truck to "Nobody doesn't like Sara Lee." Huh? Isn't that a double negative? Yes, and it was planned this way.

Since we are told as school children to avoid double negatives, the consumer goods company has decided to stand out from the competition with a grammatically incorrect tag line. Your mind rolls the conundrum over and over in your head, embedding Sara Lee deep into your consciousness and forcing you to run out and buy a bushel of Jimmy Dean sausage. Or at least that's the idea.

A poster on Yahoo Answers says that when they asked Sara Lee customer service about the slogan they were told it was deliberately planned like that. The rep told them, "Some people are ALWAYS looking for mistakes, and we want to please EVERYONE!"

Touché, Sara Lee, touché.
Now, as someone whose nickname used to be Little Miss Pedantic Prescriptivist, allow me to point out that there is no error in that slogan.

Don't believe me? Substitute "dislike" for "doesn't like". The slogan then becomes "Everybody dislikes something, but nobody dislikes Sara Lee."

No problem. No grammatical error. And it scans better the other way.

I wonder if the Sara Lee rep is aware that it's grammatically correct and was just trying not to contradict a customer, or if they were falling victim to the same hypercorrection.

Tags: annoyances, language

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