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").

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
1 vote
1 answer
52 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 ...
  • 643
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 ...
0 votes
0 answers
11 views

Does "I owe explanation to no one = I don't owe anyone any explanation" same? [migrated]

I get confused about using "not/don't with "no one/anyone/anybody". Like I want to mean "I don't owe anyone any explanation" in short. Hence I used "I owe explanation to ...
  • 15
1 vote
1 answer
147 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 ...
  • 19
-1 votes
1 answer
23 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 ...
  • 7
0 votes
1 answer
107 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 ...
  • 115
4 votes
2 answers
568 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 ...
0 votes
1 answer
49 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 ...
7 votes
1 answer
1k 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 ...
0 votes
0 answers
19 views

Do you have to change the order of the words when not using an apostrophe? [duplicate]

For example: Didn't you like the opera? Did not you like the opera? Did you not like the opera? Which one, (1) or (2), is correct and why?
-1 votes
1 answer
23 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
1 vote
2 answers
40 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 ...
4 votes
1 answer
104 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) ...
  • 41
3 votes
1 answer
132 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 ...
  • 39
0 votes
0 answers
20 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 ...
  • 29
4 votes
1 answer
179 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 ...
  • 141
0 votes
1 answer
70 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-...
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. ...
  • 153
1 vote
2 answers
212 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 ...
  • 95
1 vote
0 answers
75 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?
2 votes
0 answers
53 views

is there a general rule related to "not" being incompatible with phrases like "There are clouds"?

The adverb "not" can negate a lot of expressions in a straightforward way. We can put it after a helper verb, after forms of "be" if it happens not to be a helper verb, and we can ...
1 vote
1 answer
85 views

"I suppose you don't have" vs "I don't suppose you have" [duplicate]

Is there any difference in meaning or tone between these two and are they even both valid to begin with: I suppose you don't have the keys with you? I don't suppose you have the keys with you?
-1 votes
1 answer
91 views

Meaning of "Do you think it will rain?" [closed]

With verbs like 'feel', and 'think' where negation can be transferred from the dependent clause to the main clause, e.g. "I don't think it will rain" can mean "I think it will not rain,&...
  • 99
3 votes
2 answers
107 views

"Unlike" after negatives

Fowler (1926) criticized the position of unlike in: M. Berger, however, does not appear to have— unlike his Russian masters— the gift of presenting female characters. As with many negatives, the ...
  • 2,237
0 votes
0 answers
23 views

"neither" as adverb leading sentence [duplicate]

Is it an accepted form to begin a sentence with the word "neither" used as an adverb? Many grammar sources discuss sentences beginning with "neither", but only in the context of ...
  • 271
1 vote
1 answer
143 views

"Fairly" can't be used with comparatives or negatives

Don't use ‘fairly’ in front of a comparative form, *the train is fairly quicker than the bus; in more formal writing, you use rather or somewhat. https://www.wordreference.com/EnglishUsage/fairly ...
  • 2,237
1 vote
1 answer
90 views

"Expect": + that-clause vs + to-infinitive

In ‘I expect J will come’, you are simply saying you think he will, but in ‘I expect J to come’ you will be annoyed or disappointed if he does not. Instead of ‘expect something will not’ happen, you ...
  • 2,237
0 votes
0 answers
39 views

"Enough" can't appear in the subject of a negative sentence

Don't use enough (with or without a noun) as the subject of a negative sentence, ✳‘Enough people didn’t come', but ‘Not enough did’. https://www.wordreference.com/EnglishUsage/enough Why is it so? ...
  • 2,237
2 votes
2 answers
657 views

"Not-Noun"s: Neologism or not?

From the title, you can tell that I don't actually know what this phenomenon is called, if it has a name at all, nor if it has already existed for a long time. My own searching has been unhelpful, for ...
  • 133
0 votes
1 answer
51 views

NEGATIVES WITH COMPARATIVES [closed]

This listening question is confusing me (woman): Have you gotten over your cold yet? (man): I couldn’t be feeling any better today. (narrator): What does the man mean? a. He’s feeling terrific. b. He ...
0 votes
2 answers
149 views

Is "only" a negative adverb?

The site 'thefreedictionary.com' includes the word 'only' in the group of negative adverbs with hardly, scarcely, barely, seldom, etc. and specially categorizes it as an adverb creating 'conditional ...
3 votes
2 answers
133 views

Placement of “anymore” with respect to other complements, as in "not possible anymore to …"

I often see sentences like this from non-native speakers: ?It is not possible anymore to cross the border without a passport. To me, this sounds wrong, and I would write this instead: It is no ...
1 vote
1 answer
45 views

Some with negatives

Some with negatives. I don't want some guy coming in here and asking me questions. I don't want any guy coming in here and asking me questions. Number 1, I know I have this before. Number 2 sounds ...
4 votes
2 answers
180 views

She can't sing AND/ OR dance

She can't sing or dance. She can't sing and dance. I saw both sentences; I guess that they are whole negation and partial negation respectively. However, I am not sure which of the action verbs is ...
0 votes
1 answer
191 views

In what conditions should the negative of a " that-clause" move to the main clause?

I don't think they can win. I know they can't win. In the " that-clause", why does the first example use the affirmative, yet the second one use the negative? I guess the verb "can&...
-2 votes
2 answers
55 views

Can the words "right" and "wrong" be considered to be grammatical affirmatives and negatives? [closed]

Can the words "right" and "wrong" be considered to be grammatical affirmatives and negatives? Consider the sentence "I am not wrong." This can be simplified to "I am ...
  • 368
1 vote
1 answer
50 views

Noun clause in negative form

My question is about noun clause in the negative form. So here is the sentence: But what you can do is don't give up. Can I use the negative form (don't) in the second part of the sentence? And if so, ...
  • 13
0 votes
2 answers
144 views

Can I use 'out of this world' negatively in a sentence

Can I say " their stupidity is out of this world. Its kinda amusing" ? And what are the other ways to say it
1 vote
1 answer
53 views

About the remote "not"

Not a native English speaker. I noticed for a long time now some speakers use a second sentence consisting of a single word, "not", as a way to entirely negate the former sentence and ...
  • 225
1 vote
2 answers
441 views

"would we not" vs. "wouldn't we" in questions

Is there a difference between the following two sentences? Is the second sentence grammatically wrong? Why would we not expect the body to revolt? Why wouldn't we expect the body to revolt? Is it ...
  • 235
0 votes
4 answers
96 views

Is "Not that we would have expected anything else, of course" sound?

In the GSMArena article Xiaomi denies any ties to the Chinese military in response to being blacklisted by the US, "would have" is used: Today Xiaomi has issued the following statement on ...
0 votes
2 answers
87 views

I don't know how to understand this sentence ' it seems inconceivable that at least one of these planets does not have a life form on it'

the full context is like this: However,when we look at the 100 billion stars in our galaxy(the Milky Way),and 100 billion galaxies in the observable Universe,it seems inconceivable that at least one ...
2 votes
3 answers
766 views

"I did not go out because it was raining"—how could one disambiguate this sentence? [closed]

"I did not go out because it was raining" is ambiguous, with at least two interpretations. It could simply mean I did not go out because it was raining (and, therefore, a bad time to head ...
1 vote
1 answer
438 views

Sentences with two verbs with the second verb negative [duplicate]

I have a problem with these sentences. They have two verbs and the second verb is negative. Where should not go? try to not waste food try not to waste food and try to not take it personally try ...
  • 13
0 votes
1 answer
49 views

What does this answer to a negative question mean?

A: So, no party tonight? B: No, there is a lot of discussion. Is B saying there is no party?
1 vote
0 answers
37 views

Can I show my opinion in negative interrogative?

I believe It is not safe to let strangers in. How do I ask people and find out if they have the same opinion as me? Is it safe to let strangers in?: It feels like to me that I have no opinion. Isn't ...
  • 161
0 votes
0 answers
27 views

How to say the interrogative form with a base form of a verb ..in English? [duplicate]

In French language, I will say "Comment ne pas être repéré". But I want to translate it into English. Do we say "How to not be spotted" or "How not to be spotted"?
-1 votes
1 answer
168 views

Meaning of “lack of impunity”

This passage comes from the book Civil–Military Relationships in Developing Countries by Dhirendra K. Vajpeyi: Finally, this chapter will also look at the ensuing problems Indonesian democracy faces ...
  • 753
0 votes
1 answer
123 views

Opposite of disappointed

The opposite of like is dislike. The opposite of assemble is disassemble. So here, “dis” is a prefix that acts as a negation. Why is the opposite of “I’m disappointed in you” not “I’m appointed in you”...
  • 113
0 votes
0 answers
38 views

What is it about this statement?

This phrase "came to me" when I awoke from a dream (there's a reason why, based on the dream, but it's not relevant): Not catching a ball is not a crime. A rather simple sentence, and easy ...

1
2 3 4 5
13