2

This seems strange to me. I am trying to say that the document was not filled out, not signed, and not dated. Which sentence is correct? P.S. I prefer the Oxford Comma.

  1. "The document was not filled out, signed, or dated."

  2. "The document was not filled out, not signed, and not dated."

  • 6
    The document was neither filled out, signed, nor dated. – mplungjan Nov 22 '16 at 14:05
  • 2
    Both sentences are correct (and mean the same thing), but 2 is somewhat prolix; on the other hand, it avoids any possible ambiguity, and is more emphatic. – David Handelman Nov 22 '16 at 14:05
  • When you switched from or to and you moved the cheese. "The document was unsigned, undated, and not filled out" is a bit less histronic. – Phil Sweet Nov 22 '16 at 19:34
  • The sentence provided by mplungian is exactly right. – aparente001 Nov 24 '16 at 5:25
1

SInce you specifically ask 'should I repeat 'not', the answer is that you don't need to. Your first sentence is fine

"The document was not filled out, signed, or dated"

where 'not' naturally covers all 3 words that follow. Since it is a negative statement as in 'not' you are using 'or' instead of 'and.'

The second construction is (not wrong but) unnecessary.

0

The short answer is that either is correct.

Here's why:

  1. You have a sentence structure of subject ("document") - linking verb ("was") - subject complement(s) ("filled out," "signed," "dated").
  2. The word "not" is an adverb in your sentences. Adverbs can modify verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs.
  3. In your first sentence, the adverb "not" is modifying the linking verb "was." Therefore, three subject complements ("filled out," "signed," "dated") are being linked to the subject ("document") via the verb phrase ("was not").
  4. In your second sentence, you have three adverbs ("not," "not," and "not") that are modifying three different subject complements ("filled out," "signed," "dated"). Remember, adverbs can modify verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs.
  5. In other words, in the second sentence, three adverbs are modifying three adjectives.

Either construction is fine.

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