She was so angry that she tore up the letter.

Can I rewrite the sentence like the following?

She was too angry not to tear up the letter.

In English, I'd like to know whether 'not to-infinitive' can be used after 'too + adj'.

  • Hello, thein lwin! I see you've posted over one hundred questions, and in almost every question, someone else has ended up having to edit your post to add quotation formatting. Could you please take a look at the edits, and start using quotation formatting yourself? You need to add > before quotes, and then hit enter twice after the quote. It would help a lot with making your questions easier to read :-) – snailplane Jan 16 '17 at 1:06
  • "She was so angry that she tore up the letter…" might be one thing. "She was too angry not to tear up the letter" is equally acceptable in grammar, but largely pointless idiomatically. In your circumstances please remember "She was too angry not to tear up the letter" is so obscure, it's worth thinking about only when, for instance, "She was so angry that she tore up the letter…" makes no sense. – Robbie Goodwin Jun 2 '20 at 23:48

Yes, you can rewrite the sentence that way. It is a known structure, although it is not as common as it used to be and sounds a little old-fashioned and formal.

There is a very slight difference in meaning, I think - the too adjective not to verb form has, to me, an implication of "so adjective that it was impossible or unimaginable for her not to verb". Consider "The chess champion was so smart she saw the trap her opponent was laying" vs. "the chess champion was too smart not to see the trap her opponent was laying." The second form, I think, implies that of course she was going to see it, whereas the first form is closer to just stating that seeing the trap was very smart.

  • Stangdon, where did you get ideas like that? As Comments, perhaps but as Answers? – Robbie Goodwin Jun 2 '20 at 23:42

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