First of all, I don't know the sentence exactly so it may be one of them :

  1. It's hardest nails for me to want not do anything about it.

  2. It's hard as nails for me to want not do anything about it.

I think it should be "to want not to do anything". Why the second " to" is missing? Does this add something to the meaning? Or is it just contraction?

Here's a link to the audio. Please, listen starting from 1:40


  • 1
    Did you hear this sentence? I think you might have misheard it. Can you provide audio? – snailplane Feb 23 '19 at 3:01
  • Hi @snailboat Thank you so much for your comment. I edited the post to include the audio. – user2824371 Feb 23 '19 at 7:35
  • I'd originally made a different comment, but listened to it a few more times. It starts at 1:57, and what he says is: It is hard as f—ing nails for me to want not do anything about it. Originally, I'd thought the to was barely pronounced, but now I believe it's missing altogether. – Jason Bassford Feb 23 '19 at 15:45

Both the sentences you have provided are definitely not correct grammatically. If you heard someone say this in conversation, it may well be that this misspoke, or you misheard.

The closest sentence which makes grammatical sense that I can think of is:

It's as hard as nails for me to want not to do anything about it.

As you correctly identified, the extra 'to' to create the infinitive 'to do' is definitely needed.

The phrase 'as hard as nails' is not very natural in this context. 'Hard as nails' usually means something that is physically hard, not difficult. Someone can be 'hard as nails' if they are tough and strong. A desire to do or not do something can be 'hard' but not usually 'hard as nails'.

And finally, if you were writing this from scratch I'd avoid 'to want not to do' ... it's a clumsy sort of phrase and the placing of 'not' is awkward. You'd be better to say:

It's hard for me not to want to do anything about it.

| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    Thank you so much for your answer. I edited the question and I made sure that the word as is not dropped nor the to. Am I right? It seems that he isn't a native speaker, right? – user2824371 Feb 23 '19 at 7:34
  • I'd say he is a native American English speaker, but he makes a bit of a mess of saying the sentence. – fred2 Feb 24 '19 at 1:14

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.