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Questions tagged [negation]

Negation is the process that turns an affirmative statement (e.g. "I am American") into its opposite denial (e.g. "I am not American").

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Negative "not" in the clause [migrated]

Is there any difference between clauses below? Wouldn't he help you? Would he not help you? I saw the second clause in the PS1 game "Front mission 3". I sometimes think that games are not ...
Александр Скворцов's user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
79 views

"X not Y" structures [closed]

I frequently hear sentences like the following in spoken English, but rarely see this written. "The tree fell on my brother's car, not my father's car." "I ordered steak, not lobster.&...
WilsonT's user avatar
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Using not with both, either, neither: word choice when expressing negation of two options [migrated]

In a sentence responding negatively to multiple statements or questions, which of the following ways sounds best and has the least grammatical error? He didn’t do both. He didn’t do either. He didn’t ...
NahZ1ky's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
64 views

What follows "not either"? "Or" or "nor"? [duplicate]

Consider the following sentence: I haven't heard from either you, (n)or her. If I started my sentence with "I have heard from neither you" then the "nor" would follow. My doubts ...
NPS's user avatar
  • 601
6 votes
1 answer
827 views

Is "don't" a particle of its own?

I noticed an oddity in the sentence Why don't you just do it?: Although I always thought of don't simply as of a short form of do not it seems to me as if this is not the case in this sentence. ...
Jonathan Herrera's user avatar
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1 answer
394 views

archaic term for the word not

What is the archaic term for who is not? or words like not and do not or how to make phrases in archaic way that includes “not” does term such exist? like this, **i am not aware ** thee brought all ...
meccha's user avatar
  • 3
4 votes
2 answers
1k views

The correct negative form (past participle)

I've been searching the answer to my question wherever it is possible, but I haven't managed to get the strict rule (or guideline) for it. As we know the negative form of the past participle is ...
Deeo's user avatar
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60 views

Do Interrogative Negative forms in the simple present tense imply only two situations?

Is it correct to say that, in English, when you use the Present Simple tense in the Interrogative Negative form you are either implying the negative or just confirming the affirmative (depending on ...
MD11's user avatar
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2 answers
223 views

What's the meaning of "not no small feat"? [closed]

I didn't understand meaning of "not no small feat" in this sentence: I want y'all to meet Deltron Zero, hero, not no small feat. From Deltron 3030's song 3030 Verse 1, 2nd line I know what ...
Walter Bishop's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
67 views

What is a name for a modifier that changes the meaning of a word, rather than refining it? [duplicate]

My question, right up front, is: what is the term for a modifier that behaves this way? But "this way" takes some explanation, and that is the rest of the question. I am a mathematician, ...
LSpice's user avatar
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'Only recently were they' and 'Only recently they were' [duplicate]

Only recently (in February 1998) women’s ice hockey was incorporated into the Olympic Winter Games, while men’s ice hockey has been a fixed event ever since the first Winter Games started in 1924. ...
user481833's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
359 views

Answering YES/NO to a negative statement [duplicate]

I have to complete a form for a job that requests me to answer yes/no to some statements. The statements are written on negative form (e.g. The Company and its Management have not been found guilty ...
Morna's user avatar
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2 votes
0 answers
69 views

Any proposition...cannot be... vs. No proposition...can be

In another post, Lord Esher was quoted as saying this sentence: Any proposition the result of which would be to show that the common law of England is wholly unreasonable and unjust cannot be part of ...
JK2's user avatar
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1 vote
0 answers
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Negatives and Interrogatives with and without subject-verb inversion: "Didn't you have a lecture today?" vs "You didn't have a lecture today?"

"Didn't you have a lecture today?" vs "You didn't have a lecture today?" Regarding the aforementioned clauses, from "experience", I can surmise different, subtle nuances. ...
ARGYROU MINAS's user avatar
19 votes
9 answers
4k views

Why is "at least" unnatural here? "It won't take at least 15 minutes to walk there."

(1) It won't take at least 15 minutes to walk there. (2) It won't take more than 15 minutes to walk there. Am I right in thinking (2) sounds natural but (1) doesn't? If so, what is the reason for ...
Aki's user avatar
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21 votes
2 answers
2k views

What is it called when "I don't like X" is used to mean "I positively *dislike* X", or "We do not recommend Xing" is used for "We *discourage* Xing"?

I’m wondering if there’s a term that linguists or rhetoricians use for this (semantic?) phenomenon. In both cases, it seems as though ‘not’ no longer expresses the mere absence or negation of what it ...
rrutouowrpeie's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
148 views

Do "did not have" and "had not" have the same meanings? [duplicate]

Do the following sentences have the same meaning? He did not have even a rupee with him to buy a loaf of bread. He had not even a rupee with him to buy a loaf of bread.
Sam's user avatar
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2 answers
314 views

"Necessarily" or "not necessarily"? [closed]

The idea that has to be communicated is that picking someone at random in the street, it does not follow that they are a tennis player : occasionally you mignt find such a person. Is the following ...
LPH's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
204 views

What is the negative form of "As soon as I saw her, I recognized her"? [closed]

Whether "No sooner had I seen her than I recognized her" is equivalent to the expression " As soon as I saw her, I recognized her" or " As soon as I had seen her, I recognized ...
Rajesh Poudel's user avatar
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1 answer
137 views

Answering negative statements [duplicate]

You aren’t supposed to be here. Yes, I am or No, I am? Also yes, I am not or no, I am not? It isn’t raining. Yes, it is or yes, it isn’t?
Jim's user avatar
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2 votes
2 answers
138 views

Are English negative polarity questions biased?

A friend and I had a question about a sentence that we encountered: Didn't you want to pay for something that was too much? My friend argues that sentence is fairly neutral clarifying in a neutral ...
abbe's user avatar
  • 129
7 votes
3 answers
3k views

Is "inauthentic" inauthentic?

"Inauthentic" is more commonly used than "unauthentic", at least these days, but they are both valid. Several sources (World Wide Words for example) suggest what prefix the ...
desmo's user avatar
  • 649
2 votes
2 answers
88 views

Use of 'but' in 'Not a star but might not shoot down ...'

The young moon lies on her back tonight as is her habit in the tropics, and as, I think, is suitable if not seemly for a virgin. Not a star but might not shoot down and accept the invitation to become ...
Cold Hand's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
116 views

"It sounds weird to me to not see a subject in the sentence"

I am writing a comment about a sentence's grammaticality and I feel uncertain about these options that came to mind: It (the sentence) sounds weird to me to not see a subject in the sentence. I ...
desmo's user avatar
  • 649
-1 votes
3 answers
54 views

Why is do-support omitted in the negation "and lean not on your own understanding"?

I'm puzzled by the following negation in Proverbs 3:5, New King James Version: Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; As far as I know, that should be do not ...
Glorfindel's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
71 views

Are both correct: "Having greeted you" and "Greeting you"? [closed]

Is it correct to say: I apologize for not having greeted you when you visited my house last month. Or is it only correct to say: I apologize for not greeting you when you visited my house last ...
Louie's user avatar
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0 votes
1 answer
375 views

What’s the difference between saying “I’m willing ɴᴏᴛ to do it” and “I’m ɴᴏᴛ willing to do it”? [duplicate]

I’ve been asked to paraphrase this sentence without changing the meaning: I won’t do it. I’m confused as to which of these possible rewrites I should choose: I’m willing not to do it. I'm not ...
Tyy's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
120 views

Answers to a negative statement that then ends in ", right?"

There are lots of answers here on how to answer to negative questions like "Don't you ...?", e.g. How to answer a negative question without ambiguity?. But I am not sure about answers to a ...
Evgeniy Berezovsky's user avatar
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1 answer
95 views

I am not going to school => Amn't I going to school? [closed]

You are not going to school => Aren't you going to school? // this is correct, right? I am not going to school => Amn't I going to school? // something's wrong here. How to build the correct ...
Haradzieniec's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
46 views

Use of "did" in a negative sentence [closed]

Mark Knopfler in one of his famous songs says something like you never did have the intelligence to use (...). I am a bit puzzled by the use of "did" here. Is "did" emphasising ...
Gibbs's user avatar
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0 votes
1 answer
95 views

Few people had anything vs Few people had something. What's the meaning and possible contexts for the latter? [closed]

Here's the issue. Normally we don't say this -- "Few people had something to say" (because "few", as opposed to "a few", is negative and invites the non-assertive "...
ASDASD ASDASD's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
1k views

A little/A few in negative sentences and questions?

So, I was scrolling through the Cambridge Dictionary definition for a little and a few and I noticed that all the examples are all positive sentences. (link here) It got me thinking, would it be safe ...
meepyer's user avatar
  • 708
12 votes
2 answers
3k views

If saying 'Why can't I ...?' is correct, would 'Why cannot I ...?' be technically correct?

Why can't I ...? is perfectly correct grammar as far as I can tell. But what happens if the contraction is removed, Why cannot I ...? This sounds bizarre, but would this be technically correct ...
CPlus's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
259 views

didn't forget to do = remembered to do?

An English grammar book says the following. (50) John remembered to mail the letter. (= He remembered he had the task and then did it.) What about the following sentence? (60) John didn't forget to ...
Richard's user avatar
  • 19
-1 votes
1 answer
42 views

Alternatives to "too...to"

I know that "too..to" in "I am too busy to go" means I can't go. But can I use other expressions in the place of "too" to have the same effect? For example, do any of ...
Sphinx's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
717 views

What is meant by statistical inevitability?

What is meant by statistical inevitability? For e.g. in Editorial: summer accidents no statistical inevitability - Estonian news inevitability means something that can't be avoided EDIT: From your ...
Porcupine's user avatar
  • 135
4 votes
2 answers
614 views

"Negating" a sentence (by adding, perhaps, "no" or "don't") gives the same meaning

The F-word will be used as an example. I was talking with a friend and noticed that the two following statements have equivalent meaning I give a fuck. I don't give a fuck. Which draw my attention ...
Choripán Con Pebre's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
67 views

Does the double negative have any implications in "very unlikely that there is no difference"

If the sentence was "likely there is no difference" it would mean that the two things are the same. When it is "unlikely there is no difference", does it mean two things are not ...
djumanji's user avatar
10 votes
6 answers
5k views

I don’t suppose you are coming, [are you / aren't you]?

Which one is correct? I don’t suppose you are coming, are you? I don’t suppose you are coming, aren't you? The grammar rules I know say that (2) should be correct, but it feels wrong, because the ...
Lenka Fiřtová's user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
2k views

Why can't "any" be used as subject in negative sentences, while "no" can?

Why is it that any cannot be used as subject in negative sentences, while no can? An example pair of sentences might be: No children came. Any children didn't come. Please note that the following ...
Matěj Vais's user avatar
-1 votes
1 answer
29 views

Negative form or "No"? [duplicate]

I have some confusion about these two forms below: - I am no Politician - I am not a Politician Same goes with: - I have no friends - I don't have friends
Takashi Hensi's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
115 views

Is this structure being used in English: "Can you be free not to do something"? [closed]

On an Instagram page, I heard of a structure being used when you actually ask someone not to do something. The structure was: "Can you be free not to Infinitive...?" For example: Can you be ...
SaeedShekari's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
557 views

Why can you say “not only will I” but not “not only I will”?

Given: Not only will I be skipping the breakfast, but the lunch too. Not only ❌I will be skipping the breakfast, but the lunch too. Why does sentence (2) sound so terribly wrong? Why is sentence (1) ...
Zac's user avatar
  • 51
3 votes
1 answer
153 views

Is the sentence below ambiguous? [duplicate]

The sentence is: “X is not legal in all contexts.” Couldn’t the logical negation be interpreted as applied to either “legal” or “legal in all contexts”, the former would result in “X is illegal in all ...
Eli's user avatar
  • 39
0 votes
0 answers
64 views

What does "they both can't be selected" mean? [duplicate]

The sentence "They both can't be selected", does that mean (1) None of them can be selected or (2) They both can't make it at the same time, only one of them can ? If I, for example, want to ...
Shafe's user avatar
  • 29
4 votes
1 answer
230 views

negating contractions in Jane Austen

The novels of Jane Austen frequently contain constructions of the form auxiliary verb not which today are forbidden. We have Didn't you like it? Did you not like it? but *Did not you like it? Do we ...
eac2222's user avatar
  • 141
0 votes
1 answer
78 views

Is there a rhetoric term for using a pejorative positively or a euphemism negatively e.g. to loosen moral assumptions?

I'm not asking about contronyms or words that migrate from negative to positive connotations (e.g. "bad" or "gay") Examples: "I don't meant to just name-call. I mean to name-...
Jeremy Sherman's user avatar
15 votes
4 answers
2k views

What is the difference between "The army didn't have any" and "didn't have no" in "It makes a fellow proud to be a soldier"?

In his intro to the song "It makes a fellow proud to be a soldier," Tom Lehrer says: The army didn't have any, excuse me, didn't have no official song. And after that the audience laughs. ...
ripfruit's user avatar
  • 153
1 vote
2 answers
252 views

Trying to find a grammar rule that explains heavy use of ‘but’ instead of ‘that doesn’t’ in older English

I have seen quite a few sentences that look like this in 18th and 19th century literature: There was hardly a lawyer of repute but took up the question, and had an opinion as to Lizzie’s right to the ...
Yeats's user avatar
  • 95
1 vote
0 answers
588 views

Is "You're not" or "You aren't" better for contraction usage of "You are not"? [duplicate]

Basically the title; is it better to use "You're not" or "You aren't" in place of "You are not" in formal writing?
Peter Nielsen's user avatar

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