When asking someone questions about the future, would you ask Will you not? or Will not (won't) you?

For example, of

   1. Will you not go to school today?
   2. Will not you go to school today?
   3. Won't you go to school today?

which are grammatically correct?

It's very confusing to me.


3 Answers 3


This entire usage is very formal and not used in everyday speech.

  1. Will you not go to school today?

In formal use, this would probably be the most likely.

  1. Will not you go to school today?

This sounds like it's straight out of Shakespeare or Biblical texts. It's an archaic form that isn't used much any more:

You have heard, see all this; and will not you declare it? Isiah 48:6 KJV

I'm sure I've heard it in Shakespeare, too but this is what came up first.

  1. Won't you go to school today.

This one is the least formal but it's an odd combination of formal (the will you not) and informal (the contraction).

If I were going to ask someone this, I'd say:

Aren't you [planning on] going to school today?

Are is present tense because planning on is implied in the statement.

Or, if I'm asking about tomorrow, I'd say:

Are you [planning on] going to school tomorrow?

Will you go to school tomorrow?


In modern English, questions are formed by inverting the subject and the auxiliary verb:

You will not go to school today. - statement
Will you not go to school today. - question

Even going back to the King James bible, published in 1611, this is the dominant version: only one of these quotes contains the "will not you" form.

were ye not afraid to speak against my servant Moses? Numbers 12:8
Will ye not shew me which of us is for the king of Israel? 2 Kings 6:11
Thou hast heard, see all this; and will not ye declare it? Isaiah 48:6
Fear ye not me? saith the Lord: will ye not tremble at my presence Jeremiah 5:22
Will ye not receive instruction to hearken to my words Jeremiah 45:13
will they not say that ye are mad? 1 Corinthians 14:23

Google NGram graphs are not very helpful on this because it treats "won't you" and "will not you" as the same thing, however you can see the transition from "will you not" at the start of the 19th century to "will not you" that is currently both written and spoken as "won't you".

If you look at actual occurrences of "will not you" written like that, the majority are from biblical texts of the early 19th century, where there is a tendency to adopt an archaic mode of speech- although in this case possibly faux-archaic.

"Will you not" is still used both in very formal English and in northern dialects of British English, but in both written and spoken English, "won't you" is the normal form.


The second sentence "Will not you go to school today?" is grammatically incorrect. 1st and 3rd are correct sentences.
"Won't" gives a casual sound so it's usually limited only to speech while "will you not" is formal and should be preferred in writing.

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