"It turned out not the case" or "it turned out not to be the case" - which is more correct?

  • "It turned out to not be the case"/"It turned out to be not the case"/"It turned out not to be the case" - all are correct. Among them "It turned out not to be the case" is more common. But the best way of saying this is - "It didn't turn out to be the case." Dec 21, 2014 at 14:24
  • The first version ("It turned out not the case") is not really valid English, since strictly speaking the word be should be there. And since [not] being the case is relatively formal phrasing, it's a very unlikely reduction that would normally be corrected by any alert copy-editor. Variants based on didn't turn out are also relatively unlikely for much the same reason (such use of auxiliary do is somewhat informal, so it doesn't fit so naturally with being the case). Dec 21, 2014 at 15:04
  • 1
    @FumbleFingers Are my alternatives natural from the point of view of a native speaker? Dec 21, 2014 at 15:10
  • 2
    @Man_From_India: To my ear, the only really credible variant is OP's (and your) last suggestion: "It turned out not to be the case". It's the best of a bad bunch (because to turn out is slightly informal, whereas to be the case is slightly formal) but it's probably the best you can do if you're determined to use both those two elements in the same sentence. Depending on the exact context it might be better to start from scratch and go for something straightforward such as ...which didn't happen. Dec 21, 2014 at 15:23
  • @Man_From_India: Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I suspect your "formal knowledge" of English (in terms of "grammatical rules") is actually quite extensive by comparison to your "informal knowledge" (of the forms native speakers tend to favour). Perhaps because (sometimes quite rightly, imho) you're wary of accepting "Indian English" as a valid standard. So just to clarify my earlier comments in the context of your previous ones, rest assured that all three of your alternatives are perfectly "valid". It's just that they're all to some extent "awkward" or "non-favoured". Dec 21, 2014 at 21:01

1 Answer 1


It turned out not the case vs it turned out not to be the case.

The verbal phrase "turn out" is used in different senses. When it means "to be found or discovered", we usually use + to be/that after it. Please see the following examples.

Adam turned out not to be suitable person for the post.

He turned out not to be a friend of my brother.

So it sounds natural to say that "it turned out not to be the case".

  • I think it's also correct to say "it turned out to be not the case".
    – Khan
    Dec 22, 2014 at 5:53
  • 1
    I'm not a grammar expert, but "it turned out to be not the case" sounds wrong to me. Or perhaps it just sounds unnatural and awkward. I would not recommend using that phrase. Jan 6, 2015 at 20:27
  • delcotimes.com/opinion/20140523/…
    – Khan
    Feb 3, 2015 at 19:25

You must log in to answer this question.

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