4

I feel depending on where I put "not", the nuances of the sentences are quite different. When we put "not" next to a verb, it is likely to put more emphasis on negative meaning.

  1. I don't do many things at home.(emphasis on negation)

  2. I do not many things at home.

  3. There aren't many things that I do at home.(emphasis on negation)

  4. There are not many things that I do at home.

Am I right? or Aren't there any differences?

4
  • Sentence 2 is not correct... you've missed the word "do".
    – Catija
    Aug 3, 2015 at 3:22
  • It is correct but its negation is different. It negates many.
    – Vlammuh
    Aug 3, 2015 at 5:52
  • 1
    If 2 is intended to be the uncontracted version of 1, then you did indeed leave out a word. By the way, the contracted versions are the default versions and don't have any special emphasis.
    – user230
    Aug 3, 2015 at 23:26
  • So, which verb did you leave out of #2? If it wasn't "do", perhaps eat, see, kill, juggle, burn? Aug 10, 2015 at 6:30

3 Answers 3

2

Contractions do not add or subtract emphasis from a phrase. They do alter the tone slightly, however. Not using contractions is much more formal and can sound strange in certain contexts. On the flip side, contractions should generally not be used in business or academic writing.

For example, in this answer I am trying to convey a tone that says I am an authority or expert on the matter so I have avoided using contractions. If I wanted to give a more casual appearance, there are places where contractions would have been appropriate.

In the sentences you gave as examples either version of the phrases could have emphasis added as they are spoken, but neither adds emphasis by itself as it is written.

1

With respect to examples three and four, there is no difference in meaning or emphasis. This is because you're using a contraction (in #3) of the very same words used in the uncontracted version (#4); the contraction aren't stands in for are not.

But with respect to examples one and two, you're changing the words used, not just (not) using a contraction. This change of words and placement alters the mood of the sentence, but so would any rearrangement of the sentence.

So, to reiterate: assuming that your second example inadvertently left out a "do" as the commenters (@Catija, @Sander & @snailboat) stated and example two should have looked like the following ...

  1. I do not do many things at home.

...then there is no difference. Contraction only shortens the phrase, it changes no meaning and alters no emphasis.

-2

But with respect to examples one and two, you're changing the words used, not just (not) using a contraction. This change of words and placement alters the mood of the sentence, but so would any rearrangement of the sentence.

1
  • Hello po wensley.garlet0050@depedmalaboncity.ph Feb 2, 2021 at 10:05

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