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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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Either or Neither in sentence with another negative

I am writing something where I want to say the following: I have never visited either Scotland (n)or England. I couldn't find information about this on either this site (n)or any other site on ...
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Not do A “OR”/“NOR” B

Which of the following is correct? I feel like option #2 is correct but cannot find any similar usages. "You are not allowed to change abc or xyz" "You are not allowed to change abc nor xyz"
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Defining relative clause followed by comma when clause ends with negation & is followed by verb?

Whilst writing my dissertation I wrote the following line: 'Many of the features which Kotlin has that Java does not come at the cost of strange, seemingly erroneous drawbacks to, in particular, ...
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27 views

“Would you like this or no” vs “Would you like this or not”?

I would like to discern if both of these phrasings are correct and if they possibly even mean different things. One of them bothers me terribly.
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Where does compulsory do support come from?

We are familiar with the concept of "do support", where the verb do is used as a modal verb. It can be found frequently in Shakespeare and before and it is claimed to derive from the Celtic languages ...
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3answers
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A word to describe a person who ensures members of a group receive less favourable treatment

Is there a word or phrase that describes when: A single person in a group receives a less favorable treatment compared to other group members. The person's solution is to make sure everyone else also ...
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1answer
47 views

How to tell someone that what they're looking for doesn't exist

If someone asks you, say, "Is there a dollar store around here?" and you're pretty sure there aren't any dollar stores in the area, what would be a grammatically correct (and gentle-sounding) way to ...
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2answers
57 views

In this sentence with multiple negations, should I use “is” or “isn't”?

My apologies, I’m having issues with a double negative sentence. Bear in mind I don't want to change the sentence structure around, I just want to know if at the end of the sentence, I should put the ...
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24 views

Is there any difference between the following two forms? [duplicate]

I'm reading right now a paper related to the state of Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV) and Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) and I saw: BEVs produce no pollutants such as particulates, (...) What is the ...
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2answers
48 views

Why doesn't “need” take a “to” infinitive in some cases? [duplicate]

In a book of Alexander McCall Smith I found this phrase: No historical novelists need apply. Why isn't it this with a to for the infinitive? No historical novelist need to apply?
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How do you derive an adverb from “difficult”?

Consider this sentence: The solution to this question should no more difficult be obtained than that to the other question. Is this sentence grammatical? Is difficult here used as an adverb?
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Understanding the purported ambiguity in “Every boy didn’t run”

I am a com­puter sci­ence pro­fes­sional. I am read­ing the book Nat­u­ral Lan­guage Un­der­stand­ing by James Allen where he writes: “Every boy didn’t run” which is am­bigu­ous be­tween the read­...
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How to negate the double modal construction “might could” (and others)?

I have relatives from the southern U.S., and they often use double modal verbs in their speech, like "I might could go to the market". I understand that this isn't considered standard, but it got me ...
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2answers
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Should I say “I am unaware of neither” or “I am unaware of both”?

Should I say "I am unaware of neither of A and B" or "I am unaware of both of A and B"? In other words, is unaware negation?
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Negating both the primary verb and a relative clause

The photo caption in a recent New York Times article stated the following: "Artist rendering. This is not a photo of Johnny Depp with his best friend who is a lizard!" I believe that the writer ...
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“Unless instructed to do so” vs “Unless instructed otherwise” preferred usage

I want to give a short but clear instruction like: 1. Please do NOT perform X unless instructed to do so. 2. Please do NOT perform X unless instructed otherwise. Which one would be a better option ...
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2answers
179 views

The negative form of “extreme”

What is the negative form of the word "extreme" for this context: Temperature/climate insignificantly influences the production of honey due to the  ______(non-extreme)______  temperature during ...
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“Neither of us are” -vs- “Neither one of us is” [duplicate]

This cartoon was recently posted on Facebook. My sister (who is a retired HS English teacher) says the grammar is wrong and that the correct wording should be: "Neither one of us is." but I disagree. ...
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2answers
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not to + verb VS don't + verb

Recently a student of mine made the following mistake : "I want my family don't need anything". I corrected it to "I want my family not to need anything". But when asked why I used "not to" instead of ...
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1answer
483 views

What exactly do “not very good” and “not very good at all” mean in English?

Here is my current understanding of these English phrases: very bad (=not good at all, =not very good); bad (=not good at all, =not very good, =not very bad); not good, not bad (=not good at all, =...
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“increased no cost” vs “did not increase the cost”

I think this sentence is correct: This action increased no cost. I can say the same as: This action did not increase the cost. I prefer the former, because it's shorter. However, could one ...
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2answers
1k views

What word with the meaning 'merchant', 'tradesman' or 'businessman' has the most negative connotation?

I am looking for a word (preferably and adjective) to describe someone who only does something for others if he gets something in return, like a 'merchant spirited' person. I would like to use a word ...
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Do “I want to be unhappy” and “I don't want to be happy” mean the same thing? [closed]

I understand "I don't want to be happy" as that you don't CARE about being happy - not that you want to be unhappy. If someone asked me "do you think that people are dumb?" and I said, "no," I mean ...
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1answer
123 views

“not to anybody” vs “to nobody”

I will not talk to anybody. or I will talk to nobody. I think both of them are valid (no double negation). My questions are: Is one of the two sentences stronger? I.e., does one of the two ...
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Question about sentence structure in New York Times article

I'm reading a New York Times article, and I have a question about this paragraph: The point is that once you’ve made excuses for and come to the aid of a bad leader, it gets ever harder to say no ...
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1answer
128 views

Negative question [duplicate]

Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair (Mother to Son", by Langston Hughes) As per my knowledge we can't use Two Negative words in a clause or a sentence .I did research But could find anything . ...
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1answer
38 views

not or n't - word order in negative questions [duplicate]

Here is the context: Tom doesn't like eating apples, bananas and oranges. If I want to ask a question about what Tom doesn't like to eat, Which one of the followings is correct and sounds normal? ...
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1answer
204 views

Transformation of sentence into negative

I have this sentence: This is all I can say. I have to turn it into a negative statement. I have tried a few things and ended up with: I can't say more than this. Am I right in rewording it ...
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1answer
70 views

Is this a case of double negatives?

She was a little, brown, thin, almost skinny, woman, with big, rolling, violet-blue eyes, and the sweetest manners in the world. You had only to mention her name at afternoon teas for every woman in ...
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2answers
349 views

“She's not been_____” or “She hasn't been_____”

Using the british-english tag because I'm wondering if it is commonly said this way or accepted as correct in the UK Is it grammatically correct to say, for example, "She's not been happy" instead ...
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2answers
144 views

Correct usage of Neither, nor, not, [closed]

A• Secession is the solution, neither election nor restructuring. B• Secession is the solution, not election nor restructuring. Please, which of the above is correct?
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1k views

“Whether or not…” vs. “whether… or not”

I'm confused with the placement of 'or not' with 'whether' in a sentence. E.g. I'm not sure whether I should go or not. I'm not sure whether or not I should go. Whether you stay or ...
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1answer
220 views

If you aren't “immune”, could you be “mune”? [closed]

In English, "immune", meaning "invulnerable", seems to be the antithesis of a hypothetical word "mune", which would logically mean "vulnerable". Is there, or has there ever been a word "mune", to ...
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3answers
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Can the prefix a- be appended to the word schismatic to form the word aschismatic, meaning the opposite of schismatic?

Can the prefix a- be appended to the word schismatic to form the word aschismatic, meaning the opposite of schismatic? Both the prefix a- and the word schism(atic) seem to be of Ancient Greek origin, ...
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1answer
63 views

“We weren't all happy” — does that mean some of us or all of us?

We weren't all happy with the result. Does this mean "All of us weren't happy with the result" or "Not all of us were happy with the result"?
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Usage of Negatives in Everyday Speach: Unnecessary or Incorrect

I frequently have this debate with my fiancée about whether it is as appropriate to use a negative in the following examples as it is to omit it. I am frequently found making statements using the ...
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1answer
1k views

Is “if not already exists” valid English?

In the programming world, I've often seen and used the phrase: Create new table if not already exists. Is this valid English wording and/or grammar?
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Negation of progressive tenses in questions

I want to conjugate the verb "accept" in the progressive form for past, present and future tenses AS A QUESTION IN THE NEGATIVE. But I am confused about which approach is correct: Scenario: Given the ...
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1answer
3k views

Non-existing or nonexisting [closed]

What is correct in English, non-existing or nonexisting? Searching sources on Google doesn't help much as both variants are widely present there. Onelook Dictionary Search doesn't show much about ...
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Before the 20th century, how did people express ideas like “X isn't going to happen anytime soon”?

Something I was writing recently included the phrase "They aren't going to disappear anytime soon." I was a bit unsure about whether to write "any time" or "anytime", so I looked that up and found ...
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1answer
41 views

A sentence consisting of two negative parts [closed]

I'm editing a text (in En) by somebody else and he uses a language construction that is not uncommon in our language. Now I'm a bit confused: If these two processes did not happen simultaneously, ...
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2answers
40 views

What is the correct response to a “does not”

What is the correct response to the following question: "The purchase price of the property does not exceed £500,000" YES or NO. The purchase price is £250,000 so less than £500,000. Would I select ...
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1answer
63 views

Is this negation right?

I read the following sentence on the Internet: One of the biggest problems facing our brave space explorers as we extend our reach into the Solar System involves not the physical body but the mind. ...
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1answer
37 views

Ordering negatives with should (or shouldn't) + verb [duplicate]

There was some debate at work the other day as to the correct form in the following case: 1) I don't think you should do that. or 2) I think you shouldn't do that. A few of us set off on a Google ...
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3answers
137 views

IELTS Question on Correct Modal of Probability

I wonder if someone could help with a grammar debate a couple of ESL teacher friends and I are having. This is a multiple choice question from an IELTS test. He ________ gone to work yesterday. ...
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1answer
241 views

In the poem “If—”, why does Kipling say “If you can… don't deal in lies”?

Just another question about the immortal poem :) The first verse reads as follows: If you can wait and not be tired by waiting, Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies, Or, being hated, don’t ...
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1answer
112 views

Do “to ravel” and to “to unravel” mean the same thing? [duplicate]

I'm reading this dictionary entry for "ravel": transitive verb 1 a : to separate or undo the texture of : unravel b : to undo the intricacies of : disentangle intransitive verb 1 ...
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1answer
508 views

Distinguishing “no” from “not” before adjectives

Occasionally I hear the word “no” used in a sentence where “not” seems more grammatical. I attribute this to idiom. For example I sometimes hear someone say, “That’s no fair,” or “That’s no good,” ...
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2answers
11k views

Negative questions: “No, I don’t” or “Yes, I don't”? [duplicate]

I’m an English teacher in Japan. Recently I ran into quite a conundrum, which I’m sure many others have struggled with. I was talking to one of my students in the presence of my boss and something my ...
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2answers
57 views

What are the rules for parsing negation before “all”, “any”, and “every” in English? [duplicate]

My question is about how a negated "all", "any", and "every" statements are usually and correctly understood in English. I have just realized an apparent parsing ambiguity in all such statements (i.e.,...