Consider the following sentence:

Alan does not intend to inform us.

So Alan is saying something and what he is saying is true, but he just does not intend to inform us, that is, he doesn't care to inform us but intends something else. So I tell a friend of mine that it is not Alan't intention to inform us.

Now, what should I do if I want to add an adverb to the verb in the above sentence?

Alan secretly does not intend to inform us.

So, I now want to tell to the same friend that Alan does not reveal that he does not intend to inform us, that is, he does not reveal his real intention but he somehow let us believe that he just intend to inform us.

The above sentence with the adverb "secretly" seems problematic or ambiguous. Generally, it seems to me that adverbs before "do/does not" are ambiguous or at leas unidiomatic, aren't they? One way out of the problem is to find a verb meaning "does not" which does not have "does not".

Two verbs I have in mind are fail and cease. But these two verbs seem to add a sense to the negation. Fail to intend means not to be able to intend or do not be successful to intend. Source And cease to intend means stop to intend. Source

The other way out of the problem is to change the sentence into something like:

Alan secretly lacks the intention of informing us.

But, again, lack the intention of has the sense of "be in need of the intention of" or some other related senses. Besides, "secretly lacks" is weird itself.

But I do not want such extra senses. So, I am looking for a verb without "not" to use instead of "do/does not" so that I can put the intended adverb before it.

  • 6
    I don't really understand what you're after here, but if you're going to stick with the words tell the truth, it's hard to see how you can express his intention (secret or not) without including not to explicitly negate it. Though some people might prefer Secretly, he intends not to tell the truth or other variants. But you can also avoid the need for "do-support" by using an antonym of the relevant verb, as in He secretly intends to lie. Aug 5, 2017 at 14:40
  • 1
    'Alan secretly does not intend to tell the truth.' is unambiguous, paraphrasable as 'Alan does not intend to tell the truth, a fact he's keeping secret'. Adverb positioning often disambiguates. Contrast 'Alan does not intend to secretly tell the truth. [He intends to shout it from the rooftops.]' Aug 5, 2017 at 15:00
  • @EdwinAshworth Do you agree with what I've said about fail and cease? So, there is nothing wrong with the sentence? Isn't it unidiomatic? And, what about parallel sentence "Alan secretly does not have the intention of telling the truth."? Shouldn't I put the adverb after "does"?
    – Sasan
    Aug 5, 2017 at 16:20
  • 1
    How about "Alan intends to lie"? or "to conceal the truth"?
    – Xanne
    Aug 5, 2017 at 17:35
  • 1
    'Alan secretly does not intend to tell the truth.' is unambiguous, paraphrasable as 'Alan does not intend to tell the truth, a fact he's keeping secret'. 'Secretly' in this position means that he his keeping stumm about his decision not to tell the truth. This answers the question contained in the first 6 paragraphs of your question (after which the question becomes unclear). Ambiguousness is largely concerned with different interpretations, which isn't the case here. Aug 6, 2017 at 13:21

1 Answer 1


These are the negative words which can help us to avoid using"does not" in this particular sentence:

  1. He refrains from telling the truth.
  2. He avoids telling the truth.
  • That is not what I meant. I edited the question.
    – Sasan
    Aug 5, 2017 at 17:05
  • Too much misunderstandings. So I edited the question again.
    – Sasan
    Aug 5, 2017 at 17:43
  • "He avoids to tell the truth" is not grammatical.
    – tchrist
    Aug 5, 2017 at 18:40
  • 1
    'he avoids telling the truth', instead. Aug 5, 2017 at 18:51

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .