Are the following sentences correct?

i) Does not he go to school?

ii) Does not the sun give us light?

I wanna know all about the correct patterns and also provide multiple answers if available.

  • Except in poetry the "Does not" in the sentences above should be contracted to "Doesn't".
    – Hot Licks
    May 10, 2015 at 14:00
  • No, they're not correct. The reason is explained here. May 10, 2015 at 14:50

2 Answers 2


Today, if you want to avoid using contractions, you would write these as

Does he not go to school?
Does the sun not give us light?

Putting the "not" after "does" or "do" is considered ungrammatical currently in standard English.

Both positions were acceptable historically (possibly explaining why the contraction is allowed in these sentences), although my impression is that the modern placement of "not" after the subject was more common.

Shakespeare, for example, used both possible positions for the not:

Countess. Do you love my son?
Helena. Your pardon, noble mistress!
Countess. Love you my son?
Helena. Do not you love him, madam?


If you prick us, do we not bleed?
if you tickle us, do we not laugh?
if you poison us, do we not die?
and if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?


Your i) is ungrammatical. But ii) is pretty good, though sounding a bit archaic. I googled "Does not the sun" and got some hits, including "Just as a hydrogen bomb explodes instantly, why does not the sun explode entirely at once?" here.

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