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I wonder if Diaz won't be scared of the KO power

The quote is about Diaz fight with Daily. Daily has a big KO power, so the person is not sure if Diaz won't be scared of it and choose not to fight standing.

"If" and "won't" look weird to me when they are so close together.

Is that correct?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

It's grammatically correct.

However, writing "I wonder if Diaz won't be scared..." instead "I wonder if Diaz will be scared..." suggests that "being scared" was an unexpected variable in the situation.

Put another way: if you are already thinking about fright being a factor in the fight, you could say "I wonder if Diaz will be scared...". However, if you are thinking of several other factors in the fight (I wonder if it will rain, I wonder if Daily will wear boxing gloves...), and all of a sudden you think of Diaz' possible fright, then "I wonder if Diaz won't be scared..." suggests that it is only one factor among others.

I would be hard-pressed to find a reference for this, though.

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I think the grammatically correct more typical version of the phrase would be:

I wonder if Diaz will be scared of the KO power

Generally you would wonder if something "will or will not be the case".. rather than if it "will not or will" be the case. Therefore you would wonder if it will be the case, implying that the alternative is that it wont be the case.

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There's nothing ungrammatical about the original phrase. You can wonder about whether someone will not do something. – tenfour Apr 4 '11 at 16:23

This negation is used sometimes for rhetorical effect. For example:

Doesn't the sunset look beautiful?


Does the sunset look beautiful?

Your example goes in the same category, where the negation adds a bit of rhetoric to the phrase.

Another example:

Do you brush your teeth everyday?

You brush your teeth everyday, no?

So, to say, "I wonder if Diaz will be scared of the KO power," is a dry, clear, logical question with no bias. To say, "I wonder if Diaz won't be scared of the KO power" is like saying, "Diaz will probably be scared of the KO power", except the writer doesn't want to give such a strong assertion.

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