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Should I say:

I am aware of no independent research on the topic.

or

I am not aware of any independent research on the topic.?

I would naturally opt for the second form, but I've seen and heard the first one used as well. What are the differences between these two sentences and are they both correct? One can be aware of the absence of something (so I could say "I'm aware of the lack of research on the topic" or "I'm aware of the absence of research on the topic") but can one be aware of something that doesn't exist?

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    Both of them are perfectly alright, but the second one just seems more natural/common while the first to my ears sounds a touch more formal (and, I daresay, a little ostentatious). It doesn't imply that one is aware of something that doesn't exist, it's merely another way to say the same thing. I relate this to how these two sentences mean the same thing: "I know nothing." and "I do not know anything." – Scripter1000 Jan 31 '18 at 11:15
  • This answers my question, you could make it a formal answer. – calocedrus Feb 1 '18 at 0:47
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Both of them are perfectly alright, but the second one just seems more natural/common while the first to my ears sounds a touch more formal (and, I daresay, a little ostentatious). It doesn't imply that one is aware of something that doesn't exist, it's merely another way to say the same thing. I can relate this to how these two sentences mean the same thing:

"I know nothing."

and

"I do not know anything."

Also see: negations of quantified statements.

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