I am asking about the sentence this guy (James Wilson, House's best friend) says at 7:00 in this video. The transcription is:

Okay, maybe. But he's our friend and this is his one chance to not be miserable.

I am curious about the ''one chance''. Does one chance work as only chance? Or should I wrote his one-chance?

Still, the biggest question is about the to not be. As far as I know, it is not to. For instance, tend not to, try not to, etc. or also in reported speech: they told us not to. Is it wrong what he says then, or is this situation different from the ones I have cited?

PS: The video corresponds to Chapter 16, Season 5, The Softer Side, as you can see in its description.


You mean "he's our friend", not "his our friend".

His one chance does indeed mean his only chance.

Both not to be and to not be are possible there. But a choice not to be miserable is a bit vague: we know what the choice is not, but what is it? A choice to not be miserable is much stronger, even if in the end they mean the same thing.

  • 2
    There used to be a prejudice against so-called split infinitives - a rule that was made up by grammarians in the 19th century - so you may well have been taught only the not to be form. But most grammarians and style-guides now accept them, though they oft6en advise against them except rfor a particular effect, as here.
    – Colin Fine
    Dec 7 '20 at 20:46

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