Negation – Edward Sharpe Edition

If you haven’t heard the song “Home” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes already, do it RIGHT MEOW. It’s adorable.

Let’s see if we can negate some of the lyrics. I’m going to pick out some of the easiest ones to do (because I’m lazy).

Home is whenever I’m with you. 

Since the statement is saying that every time they’re with this person, they’re home, it’s a universal statement. So the negation of this would be an existential statement:

Home exists at a time when I am not with you.

Girl, I’ve never loved one like you. 

So, to me, this is a negative universal statement. That is, instead of saying that they always love this girl, they have never loved anyone else like this girl. Therefore, the negation would say something about how they actually have loved someone like this girl before (what a letdown):

Girl, there exists a person that I have loved exactly like you. (This sounds like a really badly worded break up)

Man oh man, you’re my best friend, I scream it to the nothingness. 

For the sake of the educational purposes of this post, I’m going to assume this is an existential claim. That is, there exists a time that they had this girl as their best friend, and in that same time they screamed it to the nothingness. (Doesn’t sound as romantic when explained). So, to negate this, we need to make a universal statement that says they’ve never been best friends, and that they don’t scream into nothingnesses. So:

For all elements in my set of best friends, you are not included, and for every instance I have screamed, I have not done so into nothingness. 

With that said, lyrics are really hard to dissect this way because there’s a lot of ambiguity in trying to pick out what the free variable and what the bounded variable would be. For example, I could have switched the last statement and said: For every time I have screamed into nothingness, I have not screamed that you are my best friend. 

And that, my friends, is why I am horrible at diagramming sentences, bad at grammar, and not an english major.


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