I read several sentences in different positions that have this structure: (A complete sentence. Not.) which is said when someone wants to praise a person s/he hates, but in the same time doesn't want for that compliment to sound real. So s/he say Not as a following and complete sentence that supposed to negate what s/he said before.

An example: You look beautiful. Not.

Is that structure common and correct grammatically?

If so, can I use it like this: It was on purpose. Kind of.? (I know it would be a different case, but I'm asking about its structure.)

2 Answers 2


I would caution against the "You're beautiful. Not!" style. It was used by teenagers in the 80s and parodied on TV and film in Wayne's World. As the teenagers of the 80s are now in their 40s, it gives the impression of being a particularly annoying uncle, who still tells jokes he found funny as a 14-year-old. This is not a good style.

In spoken English, using "kind of" as a modifier like this is okay. It is modifying the meaning, not completely changing it. If I was transcribing speech, I would punctuate it as:

It was on purpose (kind of).

  • Thanks for the explanation especially the historical one. About the last sentence, can I use it in a dialogue in a story (which is informal and written)? Because I have never seen brackets in dialogues. Aug 28, 2018 at 17:57
  • 1
    Sure you can. The expression "kind of" is an "afterthought", which is why I suggest parenthesis. Punctuation, including brackets, commas, full-stops exists to make written text clearer. In speech there would be variation in pacing, intonation and pauses to make the meaning clear.
    – James K
    Aug 28, 2018 at 18:50
  • What about the forward slash '/'? I researched the punctuation marks, it wasn't from them. But I noticed a lot of people use it especially in the case where they say: ... and/or... So, can I use it in speech? Aug 29, 2018 at 3:04
  • That looks like a new question about the use of punctuation. You should ask it as a new question rather than in a comment.
    – James K
    Aug 29, 2018 at 15:31

You could probably get a debate going among grammarians as to whether or not this usage is grammatical, so I would not worry too much about that.

However, this is accepted English usage in informal situations. Its use is not advised in formal business or academic writing.

Is 'Not' a complete sentence. I won't get into this argument here, but you may also get a debate going on this point as well. There are many other single words that are used as 'sentences', eg, Go, Yes, No, Stop, Person's name (e.g. Peter), Whoa, Never, many swearwords, etc.

As for 'Kind of'. This would still not be considered to be a sentence using the normal standards of grammar. However, any person who has raised children will have heard 'Kind of' as an answer to hundreds of questions directed to them, e.g.:

Did you clean your room?

Have you done your homework?

Did you hit your bother first?


And it is not just children who use this non-answering answer.

I think that the use of 'Kind of' is well attested in informal spoken English, and is at least as acceptable as 'Not', so I would hazard a guess that like 'Not' it is acceptable, but not grammatical.

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