-1

As per above title.

The complete sentence would be: You are hereby instructed not to proceed with any construction works for the units shown on the plan attached.

Thanks.

3

For almost all verbs, to not V and not to V are identical in effect and meaning. There's a fine-grained technical distinction that most English speakers (including native speakers) won't capture; I've previously addressed this elsewhere on english.se.

A difference exists, however, for a small subset of verbs where it is possible to relate to the object in two ways. For instance:

I do not like to eat eggs.

versus

I like not to eat eggs.

In the former, I am saying that I do not enjoy eating eggs. In the latter, I am saying that I enjoy the fact that I am not eating eggs. (The italicized portions of the sentences in the blockquotes represent the objects of the verb in each case.)


For almost all uses of to instruct that I can think of, the meaning will be identical. But in the case of your full sentence, I think they would have identical meanings:

You are hereby instructed not to proceed with any construction works for the units shown on the plan attached.

vs.

You are hereby instructed to not proceed with any construction works for the units shown on the plan attached.

I personally would prefer the latter construction (since you are in fact being instructed to do something, and it is merely the content of the instruction that is negated), but I think I'm probably in the minority on that.

| improve this answer | |
  • But how about I like to not eat eggs? The construction you're talking about is just Neg-Raising with like, a completely different kettle of fish. – John Lawler Dec 3 '14 at 18:06
  • I'm not sure why it's a "just". Maybe we use English differently, but it's an important stylistic concern for me as a philosopher, which, rather than linguistics, is the context where I'm familiar with it. Also, the link inside the answer you link to is dead. – virmaior Dec 3 '14 at 22:17
0

Instructed not to would be the better choice.

Though there is nothing completely ungrammatical about the other option, you wouldn't find it being used as much, roughly 1 in 10 cases. Take a look at this nGram for the picture.

| improve this answer | |
  • Thanks a lot for the quick answer. Would have upvoted, but I seem to need 15 reputation =) – Koay Chiang Teik Dec 3 '14 at 10:32

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