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I discovered something interesting, guys, look:

I did it

It's a usual sentence. We can negate "it" by:

1) I did not it

We can negate "did" by:

2) I did not do it

Also we can negate "I" by:

3) Not I did it (but he).

I know you will say: "It should be "...(but him)"" but it's a different moment.

We can make a question of the №1:

Did I do not it?

We can make a question of the №2:

Didn't I do it?

Did I not do it?

And finally we can make a question of the №3:

Did not I did it?

Because here "not I" is the whole not separatable noun. And all of it works by rules: for the question we have the auxiliary verb, then the noun, then all other things. So,this sentence will be incorrect if to think that it meant to negate the verb (The question of the №2) but if to think about it like about the negation of the noun, it's perfectly fine. Though I guess native speakers will mean it through "it":

Was it not me who did it?

What can you say about it?

  • 2
    Statements (1) and (3) are incorrect. Most of the tortuous "question" examples (Did I not do it? is almost OK) can be replaced with "Was it me?" – Weather Vane Jul 11 at 18:57
  • 1
    I question whether "I did not it" is English. I grant that there are a few contexts where "not" can precede a noun phrase - Not the Nine O'Clock News comes to mind - but they are very limited. A search in the iWeb corpus for "[verb] not it" give 2502 hits, but 2312 of them are with forms of be for the verb. The remaning 190 are all "does not it", but, while I have not examined all 190, I have not found one where "not" goes with "it" rather than with "does". – Colin Fine Jul 11 at 19:04
  • @ColinFine We can say "I did not it but that" or "I did not ths task but that one" but without the second object – Michael Azarenko Jul 11 at 19:33
  • @MichaelAzarenko: 1) How do you know we can say it without the second object? It sounds distinctly odd to me. 2) Even with the coordinated construction, I find it odd with the non-deictic "it". – Colin Fine Jul 11 at 21:20
  • @MichaelAzarenko By "I did not it but that" Do you mean "I did that instead of it"? What is confusing me in this example I attach "did" to "not" and "did not" becomes a negation instead of a verb. It feels like your phrase is missing a verb. But if instead you replaced "did" with another verb, and your replaced "it" and "that" with appropriate subjects I could see this sorta working. e.g. "I emptied not the pool, but the water filter". It still think it sounds weird though. It's definitely not a commonly used structure. – Alexandre Aubrey Jul 11 at 21:35
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1) I did not it

No, this expression is not generally used.

2) I did not do it

Number 2 is correct English

3) Not I did it (but he).

Number 3 is not generally used.

The distinction that you want to make between 1, 2 and 3 are made by stress

I didn't do that. (But he did)
I didn't do that. (But I did this)

Similarly, the question forms could be described as "tortuous". The grammar has been tortured into a particular pattern, but none of these are commonly used.

The simple question is

Did I do it?

Negative questions have there own meaning as rhetorical questions. The only acceptable negative questions are

Didn't I do it?
Did I not do it?

The final example comes from a different structure:

It wasn't me who did it.

This can be used for emphasis, with similar meaning to "I did it". The question form can be used for rhetorical effect.

  • I guess if my nickname had been "Master Yoda", you would have taken my question quite acceptable? :D – Michael Azarenko Jul 13 at 15:22

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