Which of the followings is correct?

1) why you did not drink that juice?

2) why did not you drink that juice?

I think both of them are correct but I don't know which one is more formal! Any further explanations will be appreciated. :)

  • 5
    Possible related question "How it works?" vs. "How does it work?" Oct 16, 2015 at 15:56
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    @VictorBazarov: I think both of them are correct! :) but just one of them should be formal. Oct 16, 2015 at 16:07
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    No, that's wrong: #2 is completely ungrammatical, and cannot occur in English. However, the contracted form is legal; only the uncontracted one is illegal.
    – tchrist
    Oct 16, 2015 at 16:20
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    OK, for god sake! :D I am not an expert! I am just a learner! I really don't make any difference between words like true and right, wrong or false! :D Oct 16, 2015 at 16:47
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    @H.R. - on ELL, right and wrong often refer to grammatical constructs. For example, I can say, The biggest ocean in the world is the Atlantic Ocean. Grammatically, that's correct, but factually, it's false. I can also say, Pacific Ocean is biggest ocean in world. Factually, that's true, but grammatically, the sentence is written wrong – it definitely needs some definite articles. So true and false refer to the accuracy of the statement, while right and wrong refer to how it's structured.
    – J.R.
    Oct 17, 2015 at 10:49

1 Answer 1


Neither of the given examples is actually correct (they are both ungrammatical in modern English). The phrase should be either:

Why did you not drink that juice?


Why didn't you drink that juice?

The first one ("did you not") is the more formal of the two; the contracted form ("didn't you") is much more likely to be heard in conversation.

This has been covered in ELU under the answer to this question: https://english.stackexchange.com/questions/8372/do-you-not-vs-dont-you

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    do we use " didn't " in formal writing? Oct 16, 2015 at 16:27
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    Generally speaking contractions are avoided in formal writing. So you wouldn't normally use "didn't", for the same reason that you'd avoid "can't", "you're", "wouldn't", etc.
    – Jez W
    Oct 16, 2015 at 16:29
  • Are you sure about my both options being false? :) Oct 16, 2015 at 16:30
  • @H.R. Note that we don't usually have occasion to ask questions like "Why didn't you drink that juice?" in formal writing. Oct 16, 2015 at 16:31
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    @Jez - I wouldn't say contractions are "generally avoided" in formal writing; I'd say that that are "used more judiciously" in formal writing. See here and here for more thoughts on this. YD says: many experts caution against the use of contractions in formal communication. However, this rule does have some flexibility. Even in formal writing, I'd use "Why didn't you" here.
    – J.R.
    Oct 17, 2015 at 11:03

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