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I saw this sentence in a comic book:

Why don't you think he wants to call her?
(Context: A doesn't want to call B. C is asking D's opinion on this issue.)

I wonder if I can use the rewritten version below instead of the original one:

Why do you think he doesn't want to call her?

1 Answer 1

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Yes, you can rewrite the sentence like you have. The original sentence in the comic book, while correct, is slang and is really only ever used in conversation. As the comic book is likely trying to imitate spoken language, the sentence structure that the writers used is appropriate.

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  • Thanks. Is there a difference in meaning between these two versions? Commented Jul 16, 2019 at 19:30
  • They mean the same thing. Commented Jul 16, 2019 at 19:34
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    I don't think it's right to call this slang. For me it's no more or less correct or idiomatic than the alternative.
    – TypeIA
    Commented Jul 16, 2019 at 20:22
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    Also, there is a difference in meaning. It's subtle, but very important. "Why do you think he doesn't..." implies a stronger conviction / certitude than "why don't you think..."
    – TypeIA
    Commented Jul 16, 2019 at 21:57
  • I agree with TypelA, there is a difference in meaning when asking what you think versus what you don't think. Also, neither is slang.
    – Ron Jensen
    Commented Jul 16, 2019 at 23:45

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