170

When the adverb really comes before a negated auxiliary, the effect is of emphasising the truth of the sentence: I really cannot tell the difference. Here the speaker is emphasising that they honestly are unable to detect any difference. However, when really comes after the negated auxiliary, the effect is usually quite different. Instead of making the ...


58

Yes, they are different in how the negations are constructed. Ungraceful is un-graceful: not graceful. Disgraceful is disgrace-ful: full of disgrace. (that is, "disgraceful" is not properly a negation of "graceful")


40

Grammatically, you can use can't instead of can not or cannot in the majority of circumstances. There is an exception. In wh-movement, the contraction should not be expanded unless you also change the word order: Why can't I have some bacon? //OK Why cannot I have some bacon? //not OK, archaic Why can I not have some bacon? //OK again, although formal ...


40

"Infinitesimal" may be the opposite of "infinite", but it does not indicate any notion of logical negation. So infinitesimally small does not indicate a large object: it just emphasizes the smallness. "Infinitesimally large" is not a very good phrase, and I would avoid it unless I wanted to play with irony (there is a conflict between the notions of '...


34

"I am not" means "what I am doing now is not." Example: Alice: "Please don't drink and drive" Bob: "Oh, I don't" (Bob never drinks and drives) Ellen: "Please don't drink and drive" Frank: "Oh, I'm not" (Frank is not currently driving while drunk. [He could be currently drinking but stating his intention not to drive home])


26

It may be a little archaic, but it's perfectly comprehensible. Unlike the other respondents, I do not believe an implied previous phrase is required; it is simply and he could not beat them off... together with the rule that `and not =nor' (and possibly a reluctance to have too many ands in a sentence). The Oxford English Dictionary agrees: nor ... ...


26

Ultimately the word "really" means the same in both cases, of adding strength or emphasis. If we swap "really" for "definitely" this becomes more clear: The first one is like "It definitely doesn't matter" (I am sure that it doesn't: certainty) and the second is like "It does not definitely matter" (I am not sure that it does: uncertainty)


24

Disenroll, "To cancel enrolment; to remove oneself from a list" may be the word you want. It is in common use, for example as a bit of legal jargon for leaving an insurance plan: A member may only disenroll from an MA plan during one of the four election periods noted above. ... When the date of death is unknown, the carrier may take action to disenroll ...


21

This way of using nor is indeed somewhat archaic. Normally, nor requires that another negative has been employed somewhere previously. In your Odyssey quote, for example, we might imagine something like this: Two vultures sat, one on either side, and tore his liver, plunging their beaks into his bowels. He could not rise himself, nor could he beat them ...


20

Quirk, Greenbaum, Leech and Svartvik have the following in their A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language (pp. 462-463): Most adjectives that are inflected for their comparison can also take the periphrastic forms with more and most. With more, they seem to do so more easily when they are predicative and are followed by a than-clause: John ...


19

If "every" is in the scope of "not", it means "It is not the case that every boy ran," or, that is, "Some boy didn't run," or "Not every boy ran." That is the preferred interpretation if every is focused or emphasized: "Every boy didn't run" with rising intonation at the end. If "not" is in the scope of "every", it means "For every boy it is true that that ...


18

I can’t help but think this is a difficult question means that I have no alternative to thinking that this is a difficult question. I can help but think this is a difficult question is not something a native speaker would say. The combination can but is used in sentences such as You can but try, encouraging the person addressed to attempt a task whose ...


17

Apparently, Early Modern English had a four-form system of yes and no, where yes and no were used to answer negatively phrased questions (e.g., "Will he not go?") whilst yea and nay were used to answer positively phrased questions (e.g., "Will he go?"). Since the sort of questions voted on by assemblies are positively phrased, I'd imagine that the ...


17

While I would say the third of your options, "non-defect-source-assesment processes", is most correct, I would strongly suggest trying to rephrase the subject for clarity. The hyphens can be used to indicate at what level the negation applies, so in this case "defect source assessment" is being negated, but "processes" is not. This is appropriate because you ...


17

I think it helps a lot to break these two sentences down: It really doesn't matter: The base sentence here is It doesn't matter. Really is an adverb which modifies doesn't. In this case, it puts emphasis on doesn't, meaning that it does not matter to a high degree. It doesn't really matter: The base sentence here is It really matters. Doesn't modifies ...


16

The two terms are certainly different in meaning, as Mark Beadles and Bob have pointed out before me. However, it is possible to create negative adjectives using different prefixes and obtaining different forms and different meanings. I can think of: misused [describing something that is used in an incorrect or inappropriate manner] and unused [with the ...


16

If I understand the Pentagon's attitude correctly, the sentence should say "Pentagon experts on Friday said it was impossible to imagine that the missile could have been fired without Russian help," without the not. This is an example of misnegation (or overnegation), which Mark Liberman of Language Log describes as "the confusions arising from our poor ...


16

This is an interesting question. I haven't an authoritative answer, but I can sketch the historical development and make some suggestions for how it came to be. The first thing is that not is an anomaly in English: it is a kind of modifier that follows the word it modifies. This is normal in some languages, but unusual in English, where modifiers (such as ...


15

What you're saying is perfectly grammatically correct, and in my opinion it's completely natural. All you've committed is ellipsis of the phrase fasten my seatbelt: I always fasten my seat belt because my car won't let me not fasten my seatbelt. This is different from the case with allow, because the verb to let takes as its complement a bare verb, ...


15

It has to do with the difference between these two present tenses. "I'm not mocking you" is clearer as it refers only to what is taking place at the moment when it is said. "I don't mock you" is a little ambiguous, as it could mean that the speaker never mocks the other person. I think that the alteration does improve it as it removes this ambiguity.


15

Normally un- with a verb means to reverse—“undo”—the previously-taken action of the verb. You “unscrew” a jar lid someone previously screwed on; you “unwrap” a package someone previously wrapped. You can even use un- with verbs signifying actions normally regarded as irreversible—create or kill, for instance—as long as you are speaking or ...


15

I would say that the answer relies on context. Lets take the following conversations as a case study. "Hey Joe, how are you doing? You look like you've calmed down a lot since that fight." "Yeah, I'm not angry anymore. Thanks for talking me down last night." I would argue that in the example above "I'm not angry" is an affirmation due to the context of ...


14

As an aside, I think three articles can be dropped to form a clearer sentence. Also, the question mark confuses me a little bit, because the sentence is structured as a factual statement, not as a question. You can of course add a question mark to turn any sentence into a question, using intonation, but I'll assume a statement for now. You may not have ...


14

Instead of using more to form comparatives, notice what happens when you use inflection for the comparative degree: Oversleeping is no healthier than overeating. The camera is no bigger than my hands. More big is always wrong to form the comparative degree, which is always bigger . More healthy could also be healthier but it does not necessarily need ...


13

No, there is no difference. Seem is a verb that governs infinitive complements and allows Negative-Raising. That means that negation in the infinitive complement of seem, or want, or other Neg-Raising verbs, as in The rule seems not to work.           [ = ... to not work] He wants me not to go tomorrow. [ = ... to not go ...


13

1- Inerrant 2- Unblemished 3- faultless 4- Indefectible 5- Immaculate 6- Impeccable 7- Flawless 8- Infallible


13

The rise of 'do' in the history of English The history of do has long been of interest to historical linguists, and there is an extensive literature on the rise of do in the history of English. The change took place over the course of the Middle English period, with the very earliest uses appearing in the beginning of the 15th century. The change took place ...


12

The New York Times' stylebook says or not is often redundant. It is ordinarily omitted when the clause functions as a noun, e.g. it is the object of a verb or preposition, or subject of the sentence. However, when a whether clause acts as an adverb, or not is needed. Check this NYT blog post for more details. Another test, courtesy of Garner’s Modern ...


12

If you are talking about what to do after you enroll in a class, but want to not be enrolled anymore, then you would withdraw from it.


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