Is the grammatically correct to say "Being not happy" instead of "being unhappy"? I have tried to search the Internet, but I did not find an answer.

  • 3
    They mean slightly different things. Please edit your question to tell us how you intend to use the phrasing.
    – deadrat
    Mar 7, 2016 at 12:02
  • Not being happy is more common than being not happy. Mar 7, 2016 at 12:03
  • For example if i use it like this -> (Because of being not happy/unhappy,he left his job)
    – Razvan
    Mar 7, 2016 at 12:05
  • 1
    It's grammatical. But don't use it. It doesn't sound like something people normally say. Unlike 'I'm not happy with ...' Mar 7, 2016 at 12:09
  • Not something is rarely ever the same thing as un-something -- that's too elementary for ELU.
    – Kris
    Mar 7, 2016 at 14:30

2 Answers 2


Generally speaking, it can mean the same thing - but it is not strictly equivalent, as deadrat pointed out. Peter Shor made a fair observation, through which i think OP asks for the antonym/lack of happy/happiness, in the given context.

Reading your comment about how you'd like to use it, bear in mind that unhappy (e.g. displeased and even sad, maybe), and not being happy (neutral, open to further exploration) are two different things.

Tread carefully; I'd advise using unhappy for displeased emotions. Using "not happy" is somewhat correct for this purpose, but not completely, as it can also mean neutrality, so don't do it. Or rephrase it - that could shed light on your intended meaning, and what you are trying to describe better.


"Not happy" is just an emotion other than happiness. In common usage, it would more often mean angry, rather than sad. Whereas "Unhappy" is a synonym for sad.

At a funeral you would be "unhappy". You would never use "not happy" in that context, as that would be stating the obvious.

"Someone parked in my parking spot! I'm not happy!" would typically mean I'm angry, rather than "unhappy" (sad).

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