General Question

laureth's avatar

Do you perceive a difference in meaning between these two sentences? (see details)

Asked by laureth (27199points) February 18th, 2010

Sentence 1: “Not everyone likes ice cream.”

Sentence 2: “Everyone doesn’t like ice cream.”

To me, the first sentence means that some people like ice cream and some people don’t, whereas the second means that everyone in the whole wide world dislikes ice cream. Mr. Laureth perceives no difference in meaning between the two, saying that they both mean that some people, but not others, have a taste for that frozen treat.

Am I the weird one here?

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49 Answers

AstroChuck's avatar

No, you are not. Both could have the same meaning but the second one implies that people dislike ice cream.
Now, you may still be weird, just not because of that.

Silhouette's avatar

Mr. laureth is weird.

mrentropy's avatar

I go with what you said. 1 is either or, 2 is nobody at all. Which, I might add, is quite false since I like ice cream.

lillycoyote's avatar

You’re right, he’s wrong.

davidbetterman's avatar

I scream, you scream, we all scream, for ice cream….

Lightlyseared's avatar

I’m with Mr Laureth on this one.

Val123's avatar

For written purposes, especially, and for clarity, the first one is best. The second one could probably be used in a conversation and be understood, when you consider the context of the conversation, and the inflection of the sentence.

faceshwaltz's avatar

Most people might say those sentences are different, but they literally mean the same thing.

Axemusica's avatar

I’d say that he be a scuvy… ahem, wrong thread…

Sentence 2 is (as my perception goes as) seeming to look like it means everyone, period. I would say that the two are very different, but as @Val123 points out, it could be quite different in an actual conversation where speaking is involved.

absalom's avatar

Difference sentences, different meanings.

The second can imply that no one likes ice cream (which we all know isn’t true, because not nobody dislikes ice cream).

ucme's avatar

Wow this is truly surreal, not unlike a Ken Russell movie.Okay i’ll buy into it.You are right in both you’re inferences.For what it’s worth.

mrentropy's avatar

@faceshwaltz I’m not seeing that.
“Not everyone likes ice cream” means that while some people may like it, some people don’t.

“Everyone does not like ice cream” is saying that nobody at all likes ice cream.

I agree with @Val123 in that if you’re talking to someone and used to how they speak (or mangle the language) it would probably be understood, but if I saw sentence #2 written somewhere I’d be saying they were wrong.

Sarcasm's avatar

Mister Laureth needs to learn this single lesson: Negations only negate that which immediately follows.

“Everyone doesn’t like” means you have gathered 5 people, and they all agree that they do not like the thing.
“Not everyone likes” means that you have gathered 5 people, and not all of them (some quantity between 0 and 4) likes the thing.

Trillian's avatar

Mr. Laureth is mistaken. The second sentence states that everyone does not like ice cream. The first, the some people do not like it. Good, more for me.

Val123's avatar

I like ice cream.

jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities's avatar

I don’t see how anybody could think they mean the same thing. They are like night and day to me.

tinyfaery's avatar

You are correct, @laureth.

SeventhSense's avatar

I see them the same only when worded like this

Sentence 1: “Not everyone likes ice cream.”

Sentence 2: “Every person doesn’t necessarily like ice cream.”

syz's avatar

If you look at the sentence structure of #2, it does indeed mean that everyone (being all people) dislikes ice cream. I have heard people use the type of sentence structure that Mr Laureth is referring to, but that doesn’t make it correct.

liminal's avatar

I agree with your perception and not mr laureth’s. Makes me wonder if we have settled an argument for everyone in your house.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

You are right.So take that Mr Laureth!

SeventhSense's avatar

Sentence 1: “(Not) everyone likes ice cream.”
Sentence 2: “Everyone (doesn’t) like ice cream
E = everyone
L= Likes ice cream

Sentence 1 ~E—> L
Sentence 2 E —> ~L

Sentence one implies at least one exception. It could still be that the whole world likes ice cream except for one person but the meaning of the two sentences is not equivalent.

LeotCol's avatar

I don’t even understand how there is some discrepancy here.
You are correct.

Sentence 1: “Not everyone likes ice cream.”

Not everyone doesn’t mean that everyone doesn’t like ice-cream. For something to be “not everyone” it can be anything from no one up until everyone minus that guy (Everyone – 1).
As everyone except him means…not everyone, therefore it can mean anything from nobody up to lots of people, just not everyone, who likes ice cream.

Sentence 2: “Everyone doesn’t like ice cream.”

Everyone is everyone…therefore this means that no matter what…everyone doesn’t like ice cream.

Just read over my answer….makes my head spin

SeventhSense's avatar

The real question is who is this madman who can resist the creamy goodness?

SeventhSense's avatar

@LeotCol illustrates why logical proofs were invented in the first place. This is a fairly simple couple of sentences but when considering something more elaborate it can be quite an entanglement trying to unravel.
George Bush’s reasoning for example

filmfann's avatar

I am with you generally on this, but it could depend on the voice inflection.

bea2345's avatar

The second sentence is true, if somewhat ambiguous. Everyone, meaning the whole body of mankind, does not like ice cream (because there are some, not all, who do). “Everyone does like ice cream” would be manifestly untrue, while the first proposition, “Not everyone likes ice cream” covers all the bases. My English language teacher taught me, when in doubt, to rephrase an expression so that the meaning was transparent.

YARNLADY's avatar

The second sentence is only like the first to a three year old. It is way too awkward to have a correct meaning to an adult.

SeventhSense's avatar

Ok I finally see the issue from going back to grade school. From
Commons Errors in English Usage we have the following:

“Everyone” means “everybody” and is used when you want to refer to all the people in a group: “Everyone in my family likes spaghetti carbonara.”

But if you’re referring to the individuals who make up a group, then the phrase is
every one Examples: “God bless us, every one” (may each individual in the group be blessed). “We wish each and every one of you a Merry Christmas” (every single one of you). In the phrase “each and every one” you should never substitute “everyone”).

For “everyone” as singular or plural, see “every.”

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

You are correct and no matter what Mr. Laureth argues, he is incorrect in this case.

SeventhSense's avatar

It can’t be correct simply by the English usage as indicated, Suspend the rules of English and it’s possible. So from a “slang interpretation” he could be right.
In other words he ain’t be not wrong exactly

SeventhSense's avatar

Don’t show him or you guys will just fight. Unless of course you’ve dragged him over already and pressed his nose against the screen dancing “uhuh uhuh go me go me…”
but I imagine you were gracious :)

plethora's avatar

You are clearly correct @laureth Mr Laureth is mistaken. I like the example used by @Sarcasm

susanc's avatar

Poor, poor Mr Laureth.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

It’s very simple to diagram Mr. Laureth’s misunderstanding.

Not everyone (could mean everyone minus one person, or only one person) likes ice cream. So, conversely, from 1 person to almost everyone likes ice cream.

Everyone (every single person) does not like ice cream.

Anyone who understands language should be able to comprehend this.

Jeruba's avatar

[Editing this response—please stand by]

Jeruba's avatar

Look here for a Venn diagram.

In sentence 2, the entire population of the world is outside the circle of people who like ice cream.

In sentence 1, there is at least one person outside the circle of people who like ice cream. Everyone may be outside it, or all but one may be inside it, but all we are asserting is that there is someone outside it,

bea2345's avatar

You know, notwithstanding my former post, the Venn diagram has me completely confused.

Jeruba's avatar

We’re not concerned here with the truth of the statements, only with their meaning. We could just as well be saying “Not everyone is purple” and “Everybody is not purple.”

Sentence 2 says there is nobody inside the circle of ice cream likers. Everybody is outside it. Everybody doesn’t like it. All the dots are in the circle of people, and that circle doesn’t even touch the circle of ice cream likers. The circle of ice cream likers is empty.

Sentence 1 says not everyone is inside the circle of ice cream likers. That means at least one is outside it, and that is all it means. Everybody = all = 100%. Not everyone = less than all, and all it takes to be less than all (less than 100%) is just one that isn’t.

In sentence 1, we don’t know where everybody else is. They might all like ice cream. They might all hate it. All we know for sure is there is at least one who doesn’t.

Cruiser's avatar

He is just trying to get out of chores!!

For instance let’s take….Not everyone likes doing the dishes!!

“Everyone doesn’t like doing dishes”!!

He is trying to get you to do it all!!! Time to KHA!!

AstroChuck's avatar

BTW, I think we are missing the whole point here. I mean who in the hell doesn’t like ice cream?

Tringveryhard's avatar

Both sentences menas the same to me…though maybe the second one implies that EVEYONE in the world just don’t like ice cream. Hope that helps

bea2345's avatar

This is the kind of thing that enriches lawyers. “Everybody does not like ice cream” = All the people in the world [i.e. everybody] do not like ice cream. In normal speech, it would be translated by the hearer as, “Not everybody likes ice cream.” But this is not normal speech. This is legalese and I can just hear an attorney saying, “But, Your Honour, what did the defendant mean exactly?”

laureth's avatar

@bea2345 – as you can see from most of the responses here, not all hearers would translate that phrase the way you have. Or are you suggesting that Fluther selects for legalistic types?

bea2345's avatar

Point taken. It is the kind of conundrum our mother would give us when I was fighting with my youngest brother (we two were the middle children of 5). Once we quarreled over the division of an apple and Mama said that my brother was to cut the apple in half and I was to select the first piece. No apple was so carefully cut before.

Val123's avatar

Fluther legalistic types will get their buttocks modded off.

@bea2345 GREAT mom!! Was she always so wise?

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