I've read a lot of novels written in English, and one thing I've come across many times is the phrase "I see not..." (e.g I see not how this plan is going to work). I am very curious as to whether "I see not" is a more "formal" or "literary" form of "I don't see" or not and would very much like to know more about how I can correctly use it.

Please excuse any grammatical mistakes I might have made, English is not my mother tongue.

1 Answer 1


TL;DR I'd consider it archaic rather than formal or literary.

Other than "I am not", "I have not", "I can not", and "I do not" (and possibly a few other exceptions), it's pretty rare to have the construction "I verb not" in modern English.

In fact, in the case of "have not" and "can not", it's usually the case that the next word is a verb, so the main verb isn't followed by not in those cases either.

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