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I live in the UK and I mostly hear people saying Don't you..., but some people say: Do you not...? What is the difference and which one is more correct?

You can put any example really. Something like:

Do you not like to come to school with me?
Don't you like to come to school with me?

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1 Answer

up vote 11 down vote accepted

Both are correct. What was originally just a contraction of "do not" has become a word in itself, and can now be placed where the two separate words can't.

Both "Don't you..." and "Do you not..." are correct, but you can't re-expand "Don't you..." into "Do not you...".

The meaning of the two are the same, but "Do you not..." is considered more formal in some situations.

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But I remember in a workshop about writing in academia, they said I should avoid using contracted forms. Does that mean that "Don't" would be incorrect in papers, or this is a special case? –  Promather Jan 10 '11 at 12:35
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Do not you is used in poetic language all the time. "But wherefore do not you a mightier way / Make war upon this bloody tyrant, Time?" — Shakespeare, Sonnet 16 –  Robusto Jan 10 '11 at 12:45
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In "standard" spoken English, "Don't you" is more common, and "do you not" sounds very formal. But in some UK dialects "do you not" is the more common form (and not considered formal). –  psmears Jan 10 '11 at 13:45
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@Rafid K. Abdullah: That depends on what you are writing. A scientific paper for example is quite formal, so contractions would usually look out of place there. –  Guffa Jan 10 '11 at 13:51
    
My sense is that American English prefers "don't" and "do you not" is a speech act with a peculiar meaning: "I am now interrogating and instructing you" in a Socratic fashion. On the other hand, "do you not" is fairly common Canadian usage with raising intonation on the 'not.' –  The Raven Mar 6 '11 at 13:24
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