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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The grammaticality of “that don't impress me much”

I'd like to know how the sentence "That don't impress me much" sounds to a native English speaker. The phrase is the title of a song by Shania Twain, and to my eyes it contains a clear error. It is ...
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4answers
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How to answer a negative question without ambiguity?

I faced a problem to answer a negative question, for example When someone ask you: Don't you have any money? It's a yes/no question but how should one answer the question without ambiguity? ...
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4answers
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English questions and negation with *do* in syntax

A former lecturer of mine once explained why, from a syntactic point of view, the English rule that negation and questions are formed with the auxiliary do follows from other syntactic facts about ...
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5answers
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What's the negation of “I used to be”? Surely not “I didn't used to be”?

What is the negative form of "I used to be"? I often hear "I didn't used to be" but that sounds awfully wrong in my ears.
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1answer
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The construction of “Known but to God”

The Tomb of the Unknown Solider has the engraving "KNOWN BUT TO GOD", as presumably no man knows his name, but shouldn't it read "unknown, but to God", as the default for everyone is "unknown", with ...
3
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1answer
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Question tags — “did you” vs. “didn't you”

Typically, when we ask for confirmation/denial of a statement, we say something like the following: We turn left here, don't we? You have a cat, don't you? We've met before, haven't we? ...
28
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6answers
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What is the correct way to use “neither” and “nor” in a sentence together?

Given these facts: The tool cannot be found in the kitchen. The tool cannot be found in the bathroom. Which is the correct sentence to represent the situation above? I can find the tool ...
88
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4answers
7k views

Why is “cannot” spelled as one word?

Why is “cannot” spelled as one word whereas other similar constructions such as “do not,” “will not,” “shall not,” “may not” and “must not” are spelled as two words (unless they are contracted as ...
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1answer
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When should we use proximity rule in “either/or”, and “neither/nor”?

According to this link, if at least one of the nouns involved is plural then it should take the plural form of the verb. Otherwise, it should take the singular form of the verb. But in the last part ...
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4answers
1k views

“There is no rule” vs. “there isn't rule”

What are the differences between the two sentences below: There is no rule. There isn't rule.
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4answers
5k views

“It isn't” vs. “it's not”

Is one stronger than the other? More correct? Just curious, one of the many abstract things to pop into my head on the drive home today...
6
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1answer
11k views

“Do you not” vs. “Don't you”

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 ...
3
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1answer
4k views

“There is no point in” or “There is not a point in”

I was thinking about these negations. Do these mean the same thing? There is no point in ... There is not a point in ... or: I have no clue I do not have any clue etc.
3
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2answers
309 views

How does negation affect the use and understanding of “or” and “and”

I'm trying to make more sense of how negation effects how a sentence is parsed and understood if and's and or's are used within them. Pop quiz: You are trapped on a bus with a bomb going 50 MPH. You ...
21
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5answers
68k views

“Whether or not” vs. “whether”

This will depend on whether he's suitable for the job. This will depend on whether he's suitable for the job or not. This will depend on whether or not he's suitable for the job. ...
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3answers
2k views

Using “non-” to prefix a two-word phrase

Does "non-" prefixed to a two word phrase permit another hyphen before the second word? If I want to refer to an entity which is defined as the negation of another entity by attaching "non-" it seems ...
9
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1answer
4k views

Negative questions vs positive questions

I'd like to know if negative questions are used very often in English. For example, in Spanish, negative questions are used very often just to offer something, to ask about something you're not sure, ...
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2answers
10k views

What is the difference between “no” and “not”? [closed]

What is the difference between "no" and "not"? We know that "no" and "not" have the same meaning. I'm studying English. I hope to get help. Sorry for my language.
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4answers
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Should I use 'or' or 'nor'?

This document does not cover the SDK interfaces nor any other reference material. I think the above is correct, but my grammatical checker in Microsoft Word underlines nor and suggests or. Why?
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2answers
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Tag Questions “is he not”

"He is happy, isn't he?" If you did not use the contraction isn't he, in the question above, would the correct sentence be: "He is happy, is he not?" "He is happy, is not he?" Sentence #1 seems ...
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3answers
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Is the use of a hyphen between “non” and an adjective strictly necessary?

Do I need to put a "-" between "non" and an adjective? As an example in physics we say "a non isolated photon", "non tight photon"... The context is very formal (paper publications and similar). Is ...
5
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1answer
587 views

Comparing negatives: “she seems not to know” vs. “she doesn't seem to know”

What is the difference in style and meaning between the following two: She seems not to know. She doesn't seem to know. Is there a name to this type of construction?
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1answer
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“They're not” vs. “they aren't”

How dissimilar are "they're not" and "they aren't"? Is it dependent on context or are these exactly the same? They are supposed to be going, but they are not. They are not going.
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2answers
668 views

“Does not make changes” or “makes no changes”

I was thinking of using this sentence on my computer program: This action does not make changes on user's machine. Just to be sure, I checked Google Translate which suggested: This action ...
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1answer
10k views

“I don't know nothing” vs “I don't know anything” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is there a rule about double negations that aren't meant as double negations (e.g. “We don't need no education”)? Double negation   I'm not a native ...
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2answers
525 views

About question tags

He did nothing*. Which is the correct question tag for the sentence above? didn't he? did he? What is the effect of using nothing for negation?
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1answer
747 views

“I give nothing to no-one” or “I do not give anything to anyone”

I have a bit of an issue with negations. Are the following correct? I do not give anything to anyone //I guess this is correct I give nothing to no-one //can I say that? Generally, is it the same ...
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4answers
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Are “not uncommon” and similar phrases double negatives? Should their use be avoided?

When I think of double negatives I think of phrases that grate on the ears, like: I'm not going to do no homework. I'm never going to not go visit Graceland. There are some phrases that ...
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2answers
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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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1answer
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Meaning of 'no earlier than X days after Y'

I am having trouble understanding the following notice on the American Airlines AAdvantage (miles account) website: Note: Mileage credit requests can be submitted no earlier than 15 days after ...
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5answers
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“All is not lost” vs “Not all is lost”

I guess I've been in mathematics for far too long, and I tend to use the phrase "Not all is lost" as the negative of "All is lost". To me the phrase "All is not lost" suggests that nothing is lost. ...
7
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1answer
31k views

When to use “cannot” versus “can't”?

When is it best to write "can't" versus writing "cannot"? Are they interchangeable in every situation?
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4answers
5k views

Answering the question: Do you mind if…?

The following always puzzles me as a non-native speaker. When somebody asks the question "Do you mind if...", there seem to be two possible responses. "Sure" and "No, not at all", which both mean ...
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3answers
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When a negative question is asked, what is the grammatically correct way to answer? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How to answer a negative question without ambiguity? Response to “Would you not do it?” When a negative question is asked, what is the grammatically correct way to ...
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1answer
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“Cannot help but think” vs. “cannot but think” vs. “cannot help thinking”

Which of the following are grammatical? I cannot help but think. I cannot but think. I cannot help thinking. I was taught (1) is not correct. Is it true? Or are they all correct? ...
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4answers
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“I don't think you X” versus “I think you don't X”

Consider the following two sentences: I don't think you love your father. I think you don't love your father. Is the second sentence correct? I was taught it is wrong.
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4answers
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“Can hardly wait” versus “can't hardly wait”

This has been bothering me for a while and I'm finally at a forum where I feel like I might get an answer. I have heard people say "I can hardly wait for summer to get here" and I've also heard "I ...
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6answers
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“Don't got” — how common is it in American usage?

I often hear the usage "don't got" in American English as spoken on TV programmes. Recently I was watching season four of "Prison Break" and one character, an Asian computer wizard, repeatedly used ...
7
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5answers
435 views

“Why can't I see?” or “Why I can't see?”?

Which of the following is correct? Why can't I see? Why I can't see? I am a bit confused, since both have inversion, negation and a "why" in the beginning.
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1answer
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Is there a difference in meaning between “does not seem to” and “seems not to”?

Consider the following sentences: Try not to be alarmed if a rule doesn’t seem to work for a specific sentence. Try not to be alarmed if a rule seems not to work for a specific sentence. ...
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2answers
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Ambiguity in Negation: “John did not come because of the rain”

John did not come because of the rain. This sentence seems to allow the following two completely different interpretations. John did not come. And the reason was the rain. John came. But the ...
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5answers
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Should “anymore” only be used in a negative statement or question?

I don't know why this is so, but I've always believed that the word anymore should only be used in a question or negative statement. Do you go there anymore? Don't do that anymore. But I often ...
5
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1answer
744 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" ...
5
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1answer
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Response to “Would you not do it?”

If posed with the subject question, given that I will not do the action in question, then what is the correct answer No, I will not do it. or Yes, I will not do it. #1 sounds better to ...
4
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4answers
987 views

Can “me, too” be used to reply to a negative statement?

A: I can't understand why my parents keep me from buying fast food. B: Me, too. It's delicious. Does B's answer sound natural? In Korea, we usually teach that we should use 'me, neither' in ...
4
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4answers
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What's the distinction between “nonessential” and “inessential”?

I'm revising a text that uses the word "nonessential", but my ear is telling me "inessential." Usually when there are two very similar words like this, there is some subtle (or not so subtle) ...
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5answers
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What is the meaning of “ought not”?

Consider this example: A few strong branches over water reach for what they ought not reach. Which of the meanings comes closest to “ought not” in this sentence? Is it “doesn't have to”, “should ...
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4answers
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“The service is temporarily unavailable” vs. “…not available”

Is there a difference? Both versions are common. If there is a difference, which do I use when, and why?
3
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1answer
210 views

Why must “not” frequently be paired with “do”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: English questions and negation with do in syntax I've always wondered why English insists on pairing not with do, when negating an action. For example, you say: I ...
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3answers
860 views

Usage of “ever” in a negative statement

I know that "ever" can be used to express the strengthened negation but would it work like that? I created a session but nobody ever joined. Is it possible? It does not sound right to me. If ...