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I frequently have this debate with my fiancée about whether it is as appropriate to use a negative in the following examples as it is to omit it.

I am frequently found making statements using the negative form seen below:

  • "I wonder if they wouldn't mind taking us with them this weekend."

vs

  • "I wonder if they would mind taking us with them this weekend."

or

  • "I wonder if it wouldn't be possible to substitute ham for turkey in my sandwich."

vs

  • "I wonder if it would be possible to substitute ham for turkey in my sandwich."

Question

  1. Is it appropriate to use the negative form "wouldn't" in these sentences?

Author's Viewpoint

The way I see it, it is just as appropriate to wonder if something was possible is it would be to wonder if it was not possible. One may view this as inefficient speech but I don't believe it is incorrect; grammatically or otherwise.

I would greatly appreciate it if someone could give an explanation as to why this is correct or incorrect and the reasoning behind their position.

  • They are both correct. It's simply a matter of if you want to frame something in a positive or negative way. – Jason Bassford Jun 12 '18 at 19:41

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