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I was writing a blog post just now and I couldn't help but hesitate at the following snippet: "...causing this to not work as expected"

And I couldn't decide if that's correct or if I should use "...not to work..." ot if "...to not work..." is okay.

Can anyone shed any light on this?

  • "...causing this to not work as expected"
  • "...causing this not to work as expected"
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marked as duplicate by RegDwigнt May 14 '13 at 8:51

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

I actually might say, "...causing this to work not as expected." – JLG May 14 '13 at 3:05
@JLG I think your suggestion implies that it still works - but not in the expected manner, but the original phrases are ambivalent on whether 'it' still works at all: it may no longer work, or it may work in an unexpected manner. – TrevorD May 14 '13 at 11:12

Most of the time I don't split infinitives, but I see nothing inherently wrong with it, especially if doing so contributes to meaning.

In some contexts, splitting the infinitive with 'not' changes the meaning. Consider these two versions of a sentence:

  1. His instructions were not to give her the information.
  2. His instructions were to not give her the information.

Sentence 1 means this: - His instructions were not this: "Give her the information." Basically, here the word 'not' negates the verb 'be'. In other words, he received instructions, but they were not "Give her the information". They were different. Maybe his instructions were very different, OR maybe his instructions were only a little bit different. For example: "Send her the information."


Sentence 2 means this: - His instructions were this: "Don't give her the information." Basically, here the word 'not' negates the verb 'give'.

So, whether or not you split the infinitive with 'not' may sometimes depend on what the intended meaning is.

for more explanation please take look on the links below in order:



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