Negation is the process that turns an affirmative statement (e.g. "I am American") into its opposite denial (e.g. "I am not American").

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perfect continuous or simple perfect in negative sentences

I want to know the difference between present perfect continuous and present perfect in negative sentences. My textbook says (namely, English Grammar In Use, 2nd edition) 'use simple for negative ...
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1answer
222 views

“Is you is or is you ain't my baby?” [duplicate]

Is this phrase grammatically correct? Is you is or is you ain't my baby? It's from a Tom and Jerry cartoon: http://vimeo.com/40283242 (at 1:30, 2:00 and 3:00).
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1answer
640 views

Negative question; what's the affirmative answer here? [duplicate]

My wife and I communicate in English. She's Japanese, I'm Norwegian and we're both language enthusiasts; this makes for a lot of interesting language discussions. This is something that surfaced ...
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2answers
370 views

“No restriction” vs. “no restrictions”

The data center must be flexible. There should be no restriction/restrictions on user's choice of protocols. What should it be?
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1answer
85 views

Usage of 'not different'

Take a look at this sentence. Many apps are not good. Even some of Apple's own apps are not different. I intend to mean some of Apple's own apps are not good. Is this correct?
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1answer
332 views

Is the answer to this question “neither” or “either”?

She doesn't think so or you don't think so? Is it grammatically correct to respond with Either. or Neither. to this question? Or does this depend on the meaning intended to be ...
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2answers
1k views

Not only X but also Y are (is?)

At first glance, sentence 1 below seems more correct because there are two subjects. However, something seems more natural about sentence 2. Maybe there is something abbreviated, elliptical, or ...
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2answers
157 views

“My job is not to worry about those people” — what does “not” refer to?

In the famous leaked video, Mitt Romney says My job is not to worry about those people An equivalent sentence probably is It is not my job to worry about those people Some media in my home ...
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3answers
209 views

Can a double negative be used to express caution or uncertainty?

In the following statement, what is the effect of the double negative? Is it necessarily emphasis? Or could it be a kind of cautious statement implying a degree of uncertainty? If a double negative ...
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1answer
390 views

Un-(adjective) but In-(noun) — does it ever go the other way?

Many pairs of words use un- as a prefix for the preferred adjective but in- as a prefix for the preferred noun (e.g. unstable/instability, unequal/inequality, unable/inability, unjust/injustice, ...
2
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1answer
705 views

Litotes: Always for Emphasis? Used for Non-committal Hedging? Any Authoritative Source?

My question is about litotes. I’m wondering if it is always for emphasis, or whether it can be a type of non-committal statement or hedging. And, is there an authoritative source that can be cited ...
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0answers
232 views

Why does a negative adverbial phrase trigger inversion? [duplicate]

When a negative adverb (or adverbial phrase) is placed at the beginning of a sentence, we exchange the normal placement of subject and verb. Why is that?
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3answers
161 views

Why does no dictionary carry the word 'non-affair', though all carry 'nonevent'?

I came across the word “non-affair” in Jeffery Archer’s novel Kane and Abel, which I just finished reading yesterday. The word appears in the following sentence (p. 544): “She couldn’t recall ...
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1answer
197 views

Why is “not as … as” preferred to “not cheaper than”?

In the rephrasing exercise A is more expensive than B. > A is not _________ B. The only correct answer is supposed to be "A is not as cheap as B". However, a student suggested "A is not cheaper ...
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2answers
463 views

Is “unmissable” a valid word?

I noticed an advert on TV advertising "unmissable" shows coming up. MS Word marks it as a spelling mistake, but the Mac OS is OK with it. I don't particularly like it.
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1answer
513 views

Why do positive and negative variants of the same question elicit the same answer? [duplicate]

In common American English usage, these two questions elicit the same response: Do you have a ticket? Don't you have a ticket? These are the usual answers (I was going to say "possible answers" ...
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1answer
2k views

Interpreting “not bad”

In conversations people often use "not bad". How to interpret this? Are they feeling good or just not bad or somewhere in the middle? Does it depend on the context? E.g.: X: How are you doing ...
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1answer
820 views

Meaning of “either”: “not /A or B/” = “not /either A or B/”?

In a positive sentence, "either . . .or" is sometimes used to express an exclusive disjunction. However, what happens when “either” is used in negation, as in sentence two below? Is the meaning the ...
2
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1answer
298 views

“Hitler will send no warning” vs “Hitler won't send warnings”

As in this WWII poster: Are they the same thing, or are there differences in expression? Why do native speakers choose the first one?
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2answers
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Verb + not = do not verb ? What is the gramatical explanation?

I have long been puzzled by the usage of 'verb + not'. For example, Kennedy said, "... my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country." The Bible ...
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1answer
4k views

“Not… neither… nor…” word order

George Galloway is an outspoken MP with excellent rhetorical skills. I will take a part of his speech to convey the idea of my question. Video Iraq is neither strong, independent nor even a ...
3
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3answers
620 views

What does the word “no” mean before a noun-adjective word? [closed]

I see some examples : - No cheese - No errors - No good I understand how to use "any", but "no" before a noun is weird (especially "no" before an adjective). Can anyone explain them?
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3answers
447 views

Is “tell neither X nor Y” equivalent to “not tell both X and Y” or “not tell either X and Y”? [closed]

Given the sentence "John told neither the boss nor the secretary.", which of the following has the same meaning? John did not tell both the boss and the secretary. John did not tell either ...
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1answer
699 views

Is “make no mistake” a mistake?

Is "make no mistake" proper grammar? Isn't "no" being used as a quantifier? Aren't quantified nouns supposed to be plural when the quantity is none? For example, I was taught to say, "one egg" and ...
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2answers
293 views

Grammaticality of “I have a car, neither does Sara” [closed]

Can we say "I have a red car. Neither does Sara." or must we say "I have a red car but Sara doesn't."? I have read this on a website and they said that the first sentence is incorrect but I don't ...
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3answers
16k views

“Repairable” vs. “reparable” vs. “irreparable” vs. “unrepairable”

I've been looking online at these three words, but I'm not able to determine their relationship and the rules surrounding their usage. I believe this is true: Repairable: Just what you'd think, ...
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0answers
34 views

Is the expression “It don't” grammatically correct? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: The grammaticality of “that don’t impress me much” It doesn't. Usually, we say it this way, right? But I have seen some song lyrics using "it don't". (Examples ...
3
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1answer
341 views

Why say “nay” when you could say “no”

I am curious as to why "nay" replaces the simple unequivocal "no" in the context of voting. My research in Merriam-Webster tells me that "nay" means "no" (not the other way around) and the first ...
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2answers
263 views

“Does he go bowling?” or “Doesn't he go bowling?”

Let's say we know a boy called Jonny and he goes bowling twice a week. My daughter has asked me which of the following questions are correct. Does Jonny go bowling? Doesn't Jonny go ...
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2answers
954 views

“Least expected” or “least unexpected”

When I was talking to my girlfriend, she mentioned an incident where one of her friends surprised her with a gift. She said something like that least unexpected ... after which we got into a debate ...
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4answers
140 views

Is there a word for the total amount of time you weren't working in a day?

I can say that I plan to work 7 hours today, but how do I say I plan to "not work" for 2 hours? "Be on a break/pause for 2 hours" or "Rest for 2 hours" doesn't work because I might take several ...
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2answers
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Is “dispreferred” a mainstream word in English?

I just recently came across the word dispreferred in a linguistic document. I have never heard the word used before, rather I generally hear something like "preferred something else" in everyday ...
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1answer
319 views

Use of “afraid not”

Is this sentence correct? I am afraid not of preparing for the exam but of the result. Or is there some other way to write that sentence?
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2answers
884 views

You have no idea, (…): “do you” or “don't you”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Question tags — “did you” vs. “didn’t you” Which one is correct? option 1: You have no idea, don't you? or, option 2: You have no idea, do you?
3
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1answer
124 views

Is the “or not” in “whether or not” optional? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “Whether or not” vs. “whether” I am not sure about the usage of whether. My confusion over it is whether or not is optional. Suppose I have the following sentence: ...
5
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1answer
293 views

Double negation “does not any”

I understand that any has negative connotations, as can be seen in the above link, but I need to say that there are no pages in a book. I've come up with the following sentence: That book does not ...
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1answer
202 views

Answering a negatively-expressed question [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How to answer a negative question without ambiguity? 2). Didn't we park on the C level? (A) Yes, I sure thought we did. (B) No, we'll park on the D level. (C) ...
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2answers
619 views

Usage of “no more” in a sentence

I would need help with the following sentence: It may be no more difficult to claim in words a feeling not felt than one that is. The “no more” is related to the whole sentence or just to the ...
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1answer
213 views

What is wrong (if anything) with the phrase “it don't mean nothing”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: The grammaticality of “that don’t impress me much” “I don’t know nothing” vs “I don’t know anything” I've noticed that sometimes people say "It don't mean nothing". ...
5
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3answers
420 views

Double negation and litotes

A friend of mine who's a native English speaker corrected me the other day. I said something like "it's not something no-one has done before". He told me about the rule that states that double ...
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2answers
288 views

Can inversion be used without auxiliary verb?

Is the following sentence grammatically correct? I don't like autumn to be honest, neither like I winter that's coming after it. Can inversion be used in this way? Or does it requires auxiliary ...
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3answers
270 views

“Why you no…?” or “What that no…?” — are those grammatically correct? [closed]

Why you no come? Why you no talk English? Why you no have a girlfriend? What kind of English are these sentences? Are these types of sentences grammatically correct?
3
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2answers
651 views

What is the grammatical function of “never”?

What is the grammatical function of "never" in the following sentence? You will have to do something you've never done. Is it an adverb? My father disagrees with this. In "I have studied" vs. ...
2
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2answers
820 views

Question tag for a sentence starting with “few”

Which is correct? Few people knew the way, didn't they? Few people knew the way, did they?
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2answers
185 views

Negatives with “a” or “any”

Are both these sentences correct? There isn’t a cat in the kitchen. There isn’t any cat in the kitchen.
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4answers
2k views

How productive is the prefix “un-”?

Is it possible to use un- with new words such as sit, sleep, sad? I'm currently seeing many words (in programming) which use "un-" in the meaning of undoing something. For example, is it possible to ...
5
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6answers
820 views

Euphemism for “non-useful”

I was just about to tell someone how something "wouldn't really be much useful" if they leave it the way it is — which is like a much more polite version of useless, but I just couldn't find the word. ...
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2answers
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“I wouldn't ever” vs. “I would never”

The two expressions from the title, “I wouldn't ever” and “I would never”, are very similar. But are they completely equivalent or do they bear any subtle differences? If so, how do they differ in ...
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2answers
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“Not possible” and “Impossible”

When we say, It is not fair. or It is unfair. I'm not sure enough to say whether both of the sentences have the same meaning or not though superficially, there is no difference between ...
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5answers
437 views

“Not once he would” vs. “not once would he”

Not being a native speaker and suffering semantic satiation from overthinking this, I'd like to ask this probably overly simple question. Not once would he... uses reversal for negation and ...