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I really can't understand why in the following sentence I don't need to use the auxiliary verb do:

He pretended not to see me to avoid an awkward situation.

Does

He pretended that he didn't see me to avoid an awkward situation.

Has same meaning and is correct?

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    In your second example, you need to insert "he" after "that". Also, have a look at this link regarding verb + infinitive and verb + 'that': ef.com/english-resources/english-grammar/… .
    – Lawrence
    Sep 17, 2016 at 9:31
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    In the first example, you are negating an infinitival clause: 'to see me' ~ 'not to see me'. In the second, 'that' introduces a finite content clause where the lexical verb 'see' requires do support + 'not' to form the negative.
    – BillJ
    Sep 17, 2016 at 10:56

1 Answer 1

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He pretended not to see me to avoid an awkward situation.

This sentences uses negative infinitive. Negative infinitives are made by putting not before the to+infinitive.

After many verbs you can use infinitives as well as negative infinitives. That sentence means:

He pretended that he didn't see me to avoid an awkward situation.

Your second sentence is not grammatical because it lacks a subject. In other words, that is a conjunction which relates two clauses. You should put a subject after that.


Note: This answer is related to the original question not to the edited version.

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    Uh... Isn't "he", immediately after "that", the second subject?
    – Nic
    Sep 17, 2016 at 19:12
  • @QPaysTaxes What do you mean?
    – Cardinal
    Sep 17, 2016 at 19:51
  • You say that the second is ungrammatical because the bit after "that" doesn't have a subject. I'm presently sure the word immediately after "that" is the subject.
    – Nic
    Sep 17, 2016 at 19:51
  • @QPaysTaxes Oh, OP changed the question. In the original question there was no "he" at all in the second sentence.
    – Cardinal
    Sep 17, 2016 at 19:53
  • Oh, I see. I thought that the second sentence was quoting the question, not correcting it.
    – Nic
    Sep 17, 2016 at 19:56

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