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Are both to be not recommended and not to be recommended the negation of to be recommended?

Or is there a difference? For example, not to be says that something should not be recommended, as in the act of recommendation is discouraged. On the other hand, to be not says that the object itself is not recommended.

I would like to use recommended and not recommended as adjectives where otherwise I would use the verbs should and should not.

  • RFC2119 made me think about that: tools.ietf.org/html/rfc2119 – user2964971 Aug 2 '17 at 13:49
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    Can you include a full sentence in your question please? – Max Williams Aug 2 '17 at 14:08
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    Negation is complex. Logically, I could say I don't like caviar simply because I've never tasted it (so I can't really have an opinion as to whether I do or don't like it). I assume it's important to be crystal clear in your text, so you might wish to consider more explicit antonyms such as condemned, discouraged, disapproved [of], deprecated, etc. – FumbleFingers Aug 2 '17 at 14:09
  • "Not to be recommended" suggests that something is not a good idea. "To be not recommended" sounds like a much stronger way of advising against something, but I can't imagine that anyone would actually say that. As FumbleFingers says, it would be more natural to say "to be discouraged" or similar. – Kate Bunting Aug 2 '17 at 14:18
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In many situations, "we do not recommend" can be taken to mean "we recommend that you don't do it." for example. But, this isn't always the case: on medicine in the UK, you will often see the phrase "Not recommended for pregnant women or women who are breastfeeding." What this actually means is "We haven't tested it with pregnant or breastfeeding women, so we don't know if there will be any side effects on the baby, so we are not able to recommend it.. However, it could be perfectly safe.

This is different to the alternate phrase often seen, "Not suitable for pregnant women or women who are breastfeeding.". This is saying "We do have some specific evidence which suggests that it's bad for pregnant/breastfeeding women." This is like saying "We recommend that pregant women do not use this medicine"

So, in the first instance "not recommended" literally means just that: that "We are not able to recommend that you use it.", and it's different to the second instance which means "We recommend that you do not use it".

So, to not recommend that you do something isn't always the same as recommending that you do not do something.

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