"Name three things that, if you were told were part of the job, would cause you to not take the position. "

I've just come across this sentence while reading the news.

Question is: Why to not is used instead of not to? This usage in this way imposes different meaning?

  • You can use a > to put something in a text area.
    – Catija
    Mar 17, 2015 at 14:53
  • @Catija thank you.Another question again just occured to my mind.Why did you put "while". I've just come across this sentence ,reading the news.Can't it be understood what I mean to say? Reading the news,I've just come across this sentence.So what would you say for the place and meaning of "reading the news"? Mar 17, 2015 at 15:03
  • You're welcome. As to your other question, It's more natural. A native speaker would not use that phrasing on a regular basis... if you used other words: I came across this dog, window shopping. it sounds like the dog is the one doing the shopping! English can be pretty understandable even when grammar is incorrect, so "being understood" is not a very good standard for proper English use.
    – Catija
    Mar 17, 2015 at 15:08
  • @CihangirÇam Placing a not in the to-infinitive clause will make the whole non-finite clause negative. You have a choice while placing not in that non-finite clause. Either you can place it before to or between to and the infinitive form of verb. But placing the not before to is more common. The meaning won't depend on where the not is placed. Mar 17, 2015 at 15:13

1 Answer 1


.....would cause you to not take the position.

In the sentence, the infinitive "to take" has been split. Instead of using "not to take", "to not take" has been used. In fact, both the phrases convey the same meaning. The only difference is that the former phrase is more common and clear than the latter phrase. It's up to you to use a phrase that is much preferable and clear or the phrase that isn't common and easy on the ear.

You must log in to answer this question.

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