Sentence structure with a double negative


I’m having issues with a double negative sentence. Bear in mind I don't want to change the sentence structure around, I just want to know if at the end of the sentence, I put the word isn’t or is

Just because you (person A) don’t feel that she (person B) is innocent doesn’t mean
that she is (or isn't).

I want to infer that just because person (A) doesn’t think that person (B) is innocent, she might be – so is it is at the end (which doesn’t sound right) or isn't at the end?


Posted 2018-07-22T07:24:27.350

Reputation: 43



We use 'just because... ' constructions when we wish to express the idea that because one thing is the case, it does not automatically follow that a second thing is the case. In your example, the first thing is that someone thinks that someone is not innocent and the second thing is that the person is not innocent. Thus you want 'isn't' or 'is not' at the end. In a simple example like this, it is clear that the senses (positive or negative) of the first and second things should match. Consider 'Just because you think she is guilty, it doesn't mean that she is'. One can link positives and negatives this way: just because the car won't start, it doesn't mean you have to buy a new one; just because a task is difficult, it (or that) doesn't mean you can't complete it.

Michael Harvey

Posted 2018-07-22T07:24:27.350

Reputation: 31 750

The key is, the two should match. So, we'd also say: Just because you feel that she is innocent doesn’t mean she is. – J.R. – 2018-07-22T08:41:37.543

So they must match. “Just because you don’t feel she’s innocent, doesn’t mean she isn’t. And that ISNT infers that she might be irrespective of what you feel – Martin – 2018-07-22T15:40:36.043