One of my team members is constantly using the "Non" prefix instead of "Not"; for example, to describe an item that is not to be imported, she writes "NonImportedItem", while I'd use "NotImportedItem". Are both terms correct? Is one of them preferable?

  • Related: ell.stackexchange.com/questions/67792/… Jul 7, 2016 at 13:42
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's about programming naming conventions, not the natural use of English. Jul 7, 2016 at 13:53
  • @FumbleFingers: The actual question appears to hinge on a grammatical problem, nouns vs verbs. Jul 7, 2016 at 17:13
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    @Nathan: I can't see that. It looks to me like OP himself is only interested in knowing whether it's "correct" to form compound nouns using not [adjective] [basenoun] or non-, but I think this is bordering on meaningless in the context of software naming conventions. In the more general context of English as actually spoken, though, we can easily point to countless examples where prefixes like non-, un-, in- etc. are used quite naturally to negate the relevant adjective, regardless of whether that adjective has the form of a past tense verb (Non-EU imports, say). Jul 7, 2016 at 17:38
  • Not isn't a prefix. Neither NotImportedItem nor NonImportedItem are English words, so neither option is more or less correct than the other. Consistency is far more important than being grammatically correct when it comes to coding, so I would recommend just picking one way and sticking to it.
    – ColleenV
    Jul 7, 2016 at 19:58

1 Answer 1


Given your examples, I suppose that is a program computing context (seems like a variable name). I think that both terms are correct but "Not" is more likely linked into a verb.

I would instinctively choose NonImportedItem.

While I was writing the answer, I fould this link, the marked answer confirms somehow my thoughts, hope it helps you : Grammar - No, not and non

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