I have a question about the above statement. Let's take another example so that we can avoid philosophical issues. Let's say the sentence says : It is not entirely false that Apple's stock price is not decreasing.
Can I say: it is true that Apple's stock price is increasing, or it is true that Apple's stock price is constant? I don't think so because 'not entirely false', in my opinion, doesn't get translated to "true."
I don't think that in the above sentence, we can cancel out two double negatives. I was taught in high school that *whenever* you see two negatives, cancel them out. This gets a bit confusing on the LSAT or the GMAT because test makers love to play with three state entities such as increasing, decreasing or constant; strengthen, weaken or irrelevant. (If you could let us know some other examples, that would be really helpful.)
I would love to hear your expert thoughts. I hope that other readers will benefit from this conversation as well.
OK, first of all, that original sentence is a overgrown monster:It is not entirely false that Apple's stock price is not decreasing.
You certainly can eliminate the final negative: It is not entirely false that Apple's stock price is increasing.
Here we get into another subtle issue ---- if the sentence were simply.....It is not false that Apple's stock price is increasing.
...then we could very easily change that to ----It is true that Apple's stock price is increasing.
....or even more simply .....Apple's stock price is increasing.
A phrase like "not entirely false" is a very different beast, and can play any one of a number of complex roles. Two are
--- that's the rhetorical term for emphasis by dramatic understatement.
"It's not entirely false that Bill Gates has a lot of money
"George Clooney is not exactly ugly.
"New York City is not quite the tiniest town in the USA.
In all three, we are making a rhetorical statement, emphasize one extreme by ironically denying the opposite. That's litotes. Proper delivery of these lines requires an ironic inflection in the voice --- these sentence don't work when spoken deadpan.
2) Qualifying phrase to set up a contrast--- here, one would grudging admit one thing, but immediately present a fact in the opposite direction.
"It is not entirely false that Apple's stock price is increasing, but the board is worried about a pattern of dropping revenues
"It is not completely false that Bert is a fast runner, but his tendency to get injured easily casts serious doubts on his prospects as a professional athlete
That is also a highly rhetorical use of language, typical of, say, the New Yorker magazine, but not quite as likely on the GMAT. Again, delivery would require a sophisticated inflection in the voice.
The point is --- do not
think of "not exactly false
" as in any way a simple negative. There is absolutely nothing simple about it.
Does that make sense?
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