The working mother is now a not unusual factor in a child's home life.

I was confused about this sentence because I think "The working mother is NOT an unusual factor in a child's home life." sounds more natural to me. I asked my grammar teacher about it and she said the sentence means that "The mother is a usual factor" rather than "The mother is not a factor." Can't the word "not" put before "a" to negate "unusual"?

  • 1
    She is a factor in a child's life which is not unusual - in other words, a lot of mothers go out to work. May 23 at 10:51
  • 2
    this question discusses "not uncommon", which is similar to "not unusual".
    – Stuart F
    May 23 at 11:15
  • I guess you should analyze the (quite weird) sentence "The working mother is now NOT a NOT unusual factor in a child's home life.". May 23 at 12:01
  • 1
    Your version would make sense and is not wrong, but the point of the sentence is to stress that the situation is common, not to tell us something that the mother is not. May 23 at 12:04

1 Answer 1


Both ways of phrasing the sentence are clear and natural, and mean the same thing -- that the working mother is a factor, and that this situation is common.

Your suggested wording is more common.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .