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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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 ...
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4 votes
1 answer
96 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) ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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4 votes
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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 ...
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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-...
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15 votes
4 answers
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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. ...
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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 ...
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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?
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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 ...
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"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?
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-1 votes
1 answer
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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,&...
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"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 ...
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"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 ...
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"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 ...
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"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 ...
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"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? ...
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2 votes
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"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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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3 votes
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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 ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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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 ...
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4 votes
2 answers
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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 ...
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1 answer
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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&...
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-2 votes
2 answers
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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 ...
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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, ...
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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
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1 vote
1 answer
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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 ...
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1 vote
2 answers
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"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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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2 votes
3 answers
694 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 ...
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1 vote
1 answer
325 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 ...
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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?
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1 vote
0 answers
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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 ...
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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"?
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-1 votes
1 answer
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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 ...
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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”...
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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 ...
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0 votes
1 answer
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Help conjugating

A funny guy on twitter made this post: "waaah society doesnt make sense" As opposed to what? foraging? "euhheuuhuh we are not hard wired for city life" a neighboring chieftain just ...
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Term for this type of negation: "Not for X I don't"

You got any more pot? Not for $9 an hour I don't. What is this type of negation called? These are the lines from a movie script. I've come across this sentence structure quite a few times but I know ...
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1 vote
0 answers
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Preposition change like "depend on" -> "independent of"

I'd like to know if, in English, there are more cases when the preposition changes for the negation (or eventually with some other change of gramatical context), the same or similar to "on" -...
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6 votes
3 answers
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When do I answer negative questions (e.g. "Aren't you...?") with "yes" or "no"? [duplicate]

I want to know how to answer negative questions. For example, take the following example: Q: "Aren't you supposed to be there at 7? You don't have time." A: "No, I can make it on time.&...
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1 vote
0 answers
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The meaning of Let us not or Do not let us

As far as I know, the negatives of Let us are Let us not and Do not let us. And Let us has two different meaning: one is a suggestion and the other is an imperative. Then doesn't Let us not or Do not ...
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"neither... nor"

Is this sentence correct? You will not be allowed to do neither the non-graded nor the graded assignment of week one unless you complete this activity.
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Is there a term for an past-tense adjective that implies transformation (e.g., "melted ice")?

Recently, someone objected to my use of the terms "melted ice" and "condensed steam," saying that those materials are no longer ice and steam, respectively. I agreed and said that ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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Inversion is not used after "not far/long"

Page 271 of Practical English Usage reads Inversion is not used after "not far/long" so we say Not far from here you can see foxes, or Not long after that she got married Why don't these ...
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3 answers
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What does 'only' represent in following sentences?

What does the word 'only' represent in the following sentences? I can only dream of becoming someone like Dr. Stone. I can only do this for so long. Is it possible that 'only' here is negating the ...
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"Not to watch" vs "Not to have watched" as subject of a sentence [duplicate]

E.g. 1 Not to watch Kobe Bryant's matches when he was alive is my biggest regret. £.g. 2 Not to have watched Kobe Bryant's matches when he was alive is my biggest regret. Am I right that e.g. 1 is not ...
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I will call somebody else, not neither him nor you

I have a sentence I will call neither you nor him I guess it means I won't call neither you nor him Out of it it's not clear whether I will call anyone at all but I want to say that I will call but ...
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