0

I was writing a story where Boy A was trying to confess to Boy's B sister. And Boy B doesn't like the thought of that, so he tries to keep his sister away. He overhears someone saying that Boy A will ask his sister out today and Boy B goes,

"Not on my watch, he will." I'm thinking if this makes sense, or should I replace 'he will' to 'he won't'. Either way, I always end up being confused whether to use he will or he won't in different scenarios. Can someone clear it up for me?

Another example I tried fiddling with was this:

The cat was going to puke on my bed and I yell, "Not on my bed, you will/won't!" Should I use will or won't?

4
  • 2
    Just uninvert the sentence. Do you want to say, “He won’t [do that] on my watch.” or “He will [do that] on my watch” ?
    – Jim
    Sep 18, 2019 at 5:53
  • "Not on my watch he won't" - 9,790 Google hits. "Not on my watch he will" - 10 Google hits.
    – Hot Licks
    Dec 29, 2019 at 16:07
  • Cf. "Not on my watch will he [do something]" The inversion of order makes the positive will not only acceptable but necessary.
    – Robusto
    Dec 29, 2019 at 16:20
  • I'll note that "Not on my watch will he", carries the same negative message as "he won't".
    – Hot Licks
    Apr 27, 2020 at 17:23

1 Answer 1

1

The phrase is more idiomatic if the verb at the end is negative. So "Not on my watch, he won't".

Likewise "Not on my bed, you won't". The sentence would also work with "don't" instead of "won't", as if the speaker is referring to what the cat is actually doing rather than reacting to the cat showing now that it plans to do something in the future. But, either way, the sentence strikes me as stranger than your first example, because you don't expect the cat to understand your words.

2
  • There is a simple answer: ‘won’t’ is the standard usage. “Not, if I have anything to do with it, you won’t.”
    – Tuffy
    Sep 18, 2019 at 12:56
  • @Tuffy I concur, it's a double negative for emphasis: similar to "It weren't me, mister, not never nohow!'
    – BoldBen
    Oct 18, 2019 at 8:47

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.