Once I thought it was wrong to use not after unless, but then I found the following example on the internet:

I cannot go to the cinema unless I don’t go to the restaurant.

And now I'm trying to understand more about the usage of unless (it beats me why I cannot use it properly).

I can make the following examples with if/only if/except if (which some believe it's ungrammatical) or otherwise/provided that/on condition that.... if one is possible; and if not, just rephrase it.

But I specifically want to know if I can use unless in a sentences like:

  • I pronounce every word in British unless I don't know how it's pronounced. (Intended meaning: .... if I know how it's pronounced in British, if not I pronounce it in American)
  • I wouldn't ask him to bring his car unless I knew you didn't bring yours. (Instead of: I wouldn't ask him to bring his car if I didn't know you didn't bring yours. Which I admit it's clunky).

It would be much appreciated if you demonstrate how it's properly used.

Note: my question is about the grammaticality not the naturalness of this usage.

  • American and British are not languages, for your information.
    – Lambie
    Aug 9, 2021 at 21:20

1 Answer 1


Nothing forbids a negation after "unless". Whatever comes after "unless" designates the condition under which the preceding statement doesn't apply.

  • Very simple and well said!
    – Lambie
    Aug 9, 2021 at 21:21

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