Is It Correct To Say “I Didn’t Do Nothing”? Here’s The FULL Explanation

When someone gets told off, they might say “I didn’t do nothing”. But is this phrase grammatically correct? Today, we’ll look at what “I didn’t do nothing” means vs what people use it to mean.

Is It Correct To Say “I Didn’t Do Nothing”?

“I didn’t do nothing” is grammatically correct. But it doesn’t mean what some people use it as.

“I didn’t do nothing” means “I did something”. Hence, you cannot use it to say that you didn’t do nothing wrong.

What “I didn’t do nothing” literally means

The phrase “I didn’t do nothing” is a confusing, and slightly long winded way of saying that you did something.

The opposite of “nothing” is “something”. And the use of the word “didn’t” means that “nothing” didn’t happen.

And yes, I know that does all sound very confusing. Why would you say “I didn’t do nothing” when you can just say “I did something”, and I would agree with you.

The only times you should say “I didn’t do nothing” is when you either get accused of doing nothing, or did something despite being expected to do nothing.

Examples of “I didn’t do nothing” taken literally

“I didn’t do nothing. I filed the papers. I know it’s not much, but it’s not nothing”

“No, I didn’t do nothing all day. I went to the park. That’s something”

“Well, I didn’t do nothing to get the promotion. I did once go on an extra course to make things easier”

“I didn’t do nothing today. I didn’t do much, but at least I didn’t do nothing”.

“I didn’t do nothing today. Okay, I did nothing productive or useful. But at least I didn’t do nothing”

“I didn’t do nothing, I at least watered the plants today”.

What “I didn’t do nothing” actually means

That’s what “I didn’t do nothing” means. But that’s not usually how it’s meant. Usually, when people say “I didn’t do nothing”, what they mean to say is “I didn’t do anything”.

Usually, the kind of person who says “I didn’t do nothing” is the kind of person who doesn’t have much regard for the rules. Therefore, the “right” way to talk isn’t going to be of much worry.

Unlike other grammatically incorrect phrases, when people say “I didn’t do nothing”, they’re breaking the grammar rules on purpose, knowing that it will annoy people who care about it.

Examples of “I didn’t do nothing” with the actual meaning

“Yeah, I was at the party last night, but I didn’t do nothing”

“I didn’t do nothing. I have no idea why the £100 was missing from the pot”

“I didn’t do nothing to him. He got those cuts when he fell”.

“I did not throw that brick in that window. I didn’t do nothing”

“I never hurt her. I didn’t do nothing when I went to see her”

“Why are you shouting at me? I didn’t do nothing!”

“You always blame me for everything. I didn’t do nothing, stop moaning”

“I didn’t do nothing”: Your English teacher vs reality

There is however a slight issue with criticising “I didn’t do nothing” for being incorrect. People who scorn those who say “I didn’t do nothing” misunderstand how language works.

The purpose of language is not to impress your English teacher, it’s to allow people to communicate better with one another. Language is how we get our ideas from our minds to other people’s minds.

When people say “I didn’t do nothing”, people will know what they mean. So long as people know what you mean, it doesn’t matter too much if you’re not “grammatically correct”.

However, if you do say “I didn’t do nothing”, people might assume some not very positive things about what you’re like as a person.

“I didn’t do nothing” synonyms

Now, let’s look at some of the other ways you can say “I didn’t do nothing”. Some of these are more formal, others are just generally different.

The literal meaning (I did something)

I did something

I haven’t accomplished zero things.

I didn’t not do anything

I did things

I ticked a few things off my to-do list.

Implied meaning (I didn’t do anything)

I did nothing

I haven’t done anything

I have done nothing

I didn’t do anything

I’m innocent

Nothing was done by me.

Conclusion

And now you know all you need to know about the phrase “I didn’t do nothing”. Taken literally, the phrase means “I did do something”.

However, when people say it, what they usually mean is “I did nothing” or “I didn’t do anything”.

But, so long as people know what you mean when you say “I didn’t do nothing”, I say use it, even if it does annoy your English teacher.