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?


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.

| improve this answer | |
  • Thanks. Is there a difference in meaning between these two versions? – Talha Özden Jul 16 '19 at 19:30
  • They mean the same thing. – Morrison Bower Jul 16 '19 at 19:34
  • 3
    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 Jul 16 '19 at 20:22
  • 1
    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 Jul 16 '19 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 - We are all Monica Jul 16 '19 at 23:45

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.