I come from Brazil, and many times in my day, I find myself saying phrases like

I think you didn't answer that question. (1)

which, in our language, is totally fine in all aspects. However, in English, very few times have I seen or listened to (1). What I normally see, though, is

I don't think you answered that question. (2)

Now, both (1) and (2) are correct from a grammar standpoint. Then, why is (2) used more than (1)? Simply because that's the way things are? Is there a difference in meaning?

  • For a start, (1) is not grammatically correct. 'I think you didn't answer that question' would be correct. It would then have exactly the same meaning as (2). Do you have hard evidence that one form is preferred over the other in every day use?
    – JeremyC
    Aug 5, 2019 at 21:29
  • Thanks @JeremyC for pointing that out. I hadn't noticed, sorry! As for the evidence, as I said, it's only from what I have seen (in shows, movies, books, etc). Aug 7, 2019 at 14:19

1 Answer 1


Both forms in the edited answer are indeed correct grammatically. (2) does somehow feel more natural to me, and I would probably be more likely to use it than (1), but I can't specify any clear reason, nor would I call (1) wrong or think it odd if I heard it.

I suppose this must just be a matter of language fashion or style, and might be different in other major varieties of English.


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