I was wondering if this question is correct or not? and if not, why not?

Do you know if he didn't go to the party?

It sounds kind of strange. I feel

'Do you know if he went to the party?'

is better... but i'm not sure why.

Can anyone help me?

  • 3
    It is grammatically correct, but it is not, in normal circumstances, idiomatic. Those 'normal circumstances' would be a simple routine enquiry. If however there had been some discussion about who did and who didn't attend the party, so that one's interlocutor was fully aware of the question's significance - it then might be possible to use it. But it becomes more idiomatic if you replace if with that, which indicates that confirmation is being sought. Otherwise, one might ask Do you know whether he went to the party?. Or Can you confirm that he was not at the party?.
    – WS2
    Oct 13 '15 at 8:40

Do you know if he didn't go to the party? can be rephrased to:

Do you know if he was absent from/absented himself from the party?

It might be used when everybody around you thinks he was present at the party, but you are the only one who is not sure and you want to ask someone what you want to know.

I don't think it is incorrect, but at the same, you don't have to ask that way for a simple question of whether he was present at the party.

I would say it might be quite unusual to ask that way.


It is correct, for “I know that he didn’t go to the party”.

WS2’s comment explains neatly why it is strange, but also why such a question might be constructed.

  • The questioin for “I know that he didn’t go to the party” would rather be Do you know (for sure) that he didn't go to the party?
    – Joce
    Oct 13 '15 at 11:12

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