If I want to answer negatively this question,

Is science any thing other than logic applied to the manifested existences?

Should I say I think not or I think no?

  • 2
    I would say "I don't think so". I think "I think, No" works fine with a special tone of voice in spoken English though. – Cardinal Feb 12 '18 at 14:52
  • "I think not" is also fine, but it's a pretty emphatic negative. However you should add more detail to the question to explain which you think is correct, and any research to support that conclusion. – Andrew Feb 12 '18 at 16:56
  • My point was that, as a non-native English speaker, I hold doubts as to whether the expression 'I think not' could be interpreted in the sense that I am having no thought whatever. For instance, while practising transcendental meditation successfully, one's mind is devoid of any thought, so in a situation such as that, I believe I could properly say 'I think not.' – Carlos Feb 12 '18 at 21:21
  • Yo pienso que no= I think not. "I think not" never means you don't think. It means: you don't agree with something. "I think no" should be used with great caution. – Lambie Feb 12 '18 at 21:39
  • Thank you. So, if I understand well, to express that there is no thinking at all going on, I could not say, When I am totally absorbed in deep meditation, I think not. Correct? – Carlos Feb 13 '18 at 0:06

I think not is the correct choice of the two you propose.

I think no is ungrammatical. You might be able to write I think--no where the double hyphens represent an em-dash which itself represents a speaker pausing to think and change what he was going to say.

You might be able to use something like this:

"Is science any thing other than logic applied to the manifested existences?

"I think no, it is exactly as described."

But that's part of a larger construction.

No might be a simpler answer if you disagree.

I don't think so might be a little more gentle and could be followed by ...because... and then you list reasons why you disagree.

I think not is tending towards a formulaic phrase and tends to be used as a strong negation, possibly because in current English we don't often use such old fashioned constructions with the negating adverb at the end of the sentence. The most notable exception is possibly when following did as in I did not. Otherwise you sound like you're trying to imitate English from a few hundred years ago and that pattern sounds odd today.

  • 1
    "The most notable exception is possibly when following did as in I did not." - any auxiliary verb really (have not, will not) – Maciej Stachowski Feb 13 '18 at 1:17
  • 1
    @Maciej That would be a different structure. It's what some linguists call code or auxiliary stranding. In this case, however, not is a pro-form substituting for the subordinate clause. – user178049 Feb 13 '18 at 3:00

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