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But you are very welcome for my having given you my time, not that you would ever dream of taking the trouble to say "thank you" after I have gone the trouble of helping you and correcting your misimpressions time and again.

The above was written by my teacher, a non native speaker of English. He was actually half angry half teaching: he was angry at one of my classmates' impoliteness and trying to show us how to make such sentences.

Two questions regarding "would dream of":

  1. I want to know if "would dream of" is used correctly in this positive sentence, because my dictionary only has the pattern "somebody wouldn't dream of."

  2. Does the bold part mean: It is not to be inferred that you don't need to say thank you after...

2 Answers 2

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Your phrase in bold is a passive-aggressive way of saying, "You're not polite or considerate or grateful enough to ever say 'thank you'". And that statement implies that you should say "thank you", especially in the larger context where the teacher is saying "you're welcome" to the student to shame them for not saying "thank you".

FWIW, your sentence does, in fact, use "not dream of" because of "...not that...".

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  • Is the usage of "not that" related to this definition: "not that: It is not to be inferred that"
    – ForOU
    Commented Jul 17, 2022 at 2:35
  • @Robbyzhu Yes. Someone saying "you're welcome" normally implies another person has just said "thank you". The teacher is making it (overly) clear that this student wouldn't thank the teacher.
    – gotube
    Commented Jul 17, 2022 at 2:38
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I am a native speaker.

This sentence is not idiomatic in context.

You’re welcome

and variants are standardized responses to a “thank you,” which by hypothesis was never uttered. Although technically wrong, it is an error even an educated native speaker might make if emotional.

I agree that the more usual usage of “dream of” is negative so I am not surprised that the dictionary’s example was framed negatively.

I would not dream of asking her for a date.

But negative framing is not a rule. Positive framing is perfectly OK.

I dream of spending a summer in a luxurious villa Cap d’Antibes

is idiomatic and not a bit strange to say (assuming you have many more oodles of money to spend than I do).

In any case, the statement you are asking about is posed negatively:

NOT that you would ever dream of

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    I agree with the main part of your answer, but I am not sure what you mean in your comment about "You're welcome". Could you please explain in more detail?
    – JavaLatte
    Commented Jul 17, 2022 at 1:58
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    If somebody says “F___ you,” a response of “you’re welcome” is sarcastic rather than an idiomatic response. The formula “you’re welcome” is a response to “thank you” rather than to “Good morning. How are you today?” Native speakers may play games with purely formulaic phatic language, but non-native speakers should be aware that altering language that is socially defined may lead to severe misunderstanding. “Good morning” answered by “Merry Christmas” may lead people to assume the responder has severe mental problems. Clear now? Commented Jul 17, 2022 at 2:16
  • Thank you. I had the same doubts as JavaLatte, and now it is clear.
    – ForOU
    Commented Jul 17, 2022 at 2:35

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