I was just wondering if there was a grammatical rule or consensus that would make one of these sentences preferable to the other one:

Some people think drinking is not good.

Some people don't think drinking is good.

Many thanks in advance for any insights or ideas that you can provide!

2 Answers 2


These two sentences have different nuances. The first one concentrates on the negative perspective of the people – that they actively think that drinking is not good. The second one is more ambivalent – it's not that people think that drinking is bad, they just might not think that it's good (or even not think about drinking at all and have no opinion). Without know what emphasis you're aiming for, it's not possible to suggest which is superior. Having said that, if I wanted to use the first emphasis I'd rephase the statement to be "bad" rather than "not good" as the original isn't really common parlance (so "Some people think drinking is not good" would become "Some people think drinking is bad").


It is better to use the second one. Some people don't think drinking is good.

We usually make the verbs think, believe etc. negative when we introduce negative ideas. (NOT the verb in the following clause)

I don't think + clause

I don't believe + clause

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