0

Method 1: wasn't/weren't + subject + verb(ing) + object?

Method 2: was/were + subject + not + verb(ing) + object ?

Which method correct in past continuous tense ~ negative interrogative form? Or both are correct?

Example: A). Wasn't she crying? Or B). Was she not crying?

Please explain this..

3
  • 2
    Both are correct. The difference depends on whether the negative is to be contracted with the auxiliary verb (normally it is in colloquial speech). If it's not, it's unusual and therefore must be for a reason, and there are several possible reasons: the speaker may think it's more formal to do that (it is rather stuffy), or the speaker may wish to emphasize the negative constituent not crying. Aug 1, 2014 at 15:46
  • BTW - What is not often said by native English speakers is this: Was not she crying? I have heard non-native speakers say that. IOW, even though wasn't is a contraction of was not, people do not ask the question Was not..?
    – Drew
    Aug 2, 2014 at 19:17
  • If you are an English-language learner, you might enjoy our sister-site for English Language Learners. That’s because our sister-site is a Q&A site especially made for learners, in contrast to the current English Language and Usage site, which is instead “a Q&A site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts”.
    – tchrist
    Aug 3, 2014 at 18:36

1 Answer 1

1

Both are correct. The difference depends on whether the negative is to be contracted with the auxiliary verb (normally it is in colloquial speech). If it's not, it's unusual and therefore must be for a reason, and there are several possible reasons: the speaker may think it's more formal to do that (it is rather stuffy), or the speaker may wish to emphasize the negative constituent not crying. – John Lawler

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.