Questions tagged [negation]

"Negation" is the process that turns an affirmative statement into its opposite denial.

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Confirming negatives in English

I know in English if someone asks: The picture is not correct, right? I could answer: No, it is not correct. Right, it is not correct. But what if the negative is in the word itself, such as The ...
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“Can I not read it”?

If a person is asking about permission not to read something, he doesn't want to read it and asks not to read it. Can we use the phrase “Can I not read it”? Is it correct?
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Using not with both, either, neither: word choice when expressing negation of two options

In a sentence responding negatively to multiple statements or questions, which of the following ways sounds best and has the least grammatical error? He didn’t do both. He didn’t do either. He didn’t ...
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"I didn’t agree with some of the things he said." — Why is it correct to use "some" after the negation?

an example from the textbook "the Cambridge Grammar of the English Language", page 359: (1) I didn’t agree with some of the things he said. As far as I know, "some" can't be used ...
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If "I did Exercise 1 but not 2" is correct, then why is "The exercise I did was 1 but not 2" not correct?

a conclusion from one of threads on forum.wordreference.com: (1a) I did Exercise 1, not 2. — correct (1b) I did Exercise 1 but not 2. — correct (2a) The exercise I did was 1, not 2. — correct (2b) ...
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"It looked not (very) large." is correct with "very" but incorrect without, right?

The aim of this question is to understand the structure "not + modifier + adjective/adverb" better. Does it always sound natural? If not, then when can we use it and when not? the textbook &...
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"I will see if I can't make somthing", what does the "can't" mean?

The line is easy to understand in context but difficult in terms of grammar. I find this one in D.H. Lawrence's famous short fiction The Rocking-Horse Winner so it may be of common use in his age or ...
Qiushuang Feng's user avatar
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How to combine “She was/wasn’t at home” vs “She had/hadn’t been at home" with “when I called her”?

When I called her she wasn’t at home.She wasn’t at home when I called her. When I called her she had been at home.She had been at home when I called her. Does had been at home mean that she was at ...
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Using words "not" and "until" in the same sentence

For example, let's say someone said to me, "You did not need to wait until I was in the pool to hold me". I believe this can translate to something like, "You did not need to wait to ...
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A: Nobody will oppose it. B: I should think not!

A: Nobody will oppose it. B: I should think not! What's the meaning of 'I should think not!'? B thinks someone will oppose or not oppose?
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What is the meaning of "Not actually"?

For example, let's say Person A says "1 plus 1 is 3". Then Person B can either say "It's not 3, it's 2" or "It's actually 2". What if Person B says "It's not ...
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as Tom told him not to

Can sentences a, b and c be used instead of sentences a1, b1 and c1? a. He didn't turn off the lights, as Tom told him to. b. He didn't turn off the lights, since Tom told him to. c. He didn't turn ...
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Do you want me to not go? or Do you not want me to go? or Don't you want me to go?

Do you want me to not go? Do you not want me to go? Don't you want me to go? What's the correct way to ask if the other person doesn't want me to go? What is the difference between these three ...
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Are "I have no idea" and "I have no ideas" both correct, and if so, are they synonymous?

I am considering these two sentences: I have no idea. I have no ideas. Are they both correct, and if so, are they synonymous?
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if not your intelligence

a. I admire your courage, if not your intelligence. Does that mean b. I admire your courage, but not your intelligence. or c. I admire your courage, although I am not sure whether I admire your ...
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Does "You need to not eat much so that you will not be fat" have the same idea as "You shouldn't eat much so that you will not be fat"?

All examples are mine: (1) You should not eat much so that you will not be fat. I want to use "need" and "not" in the first clause instead of "should" and "not",...
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"I should have never dropped my guard so you could <not> stab me in the back."

from a song: (1) I should have never dropped my guard so you could stab me in the back. my variant: (2) I should have never dropped my guard so you couldn't stab me in the back. As far as I understand,...
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Does "Aren't you a silly girl!" mean "You aren't a silly girl!"?

my example: (1a) Are you a silly girl! As I understand, (1a) means (1b): (1b) You are a silly girl! wordreference.com: (2a) Aren't you a silly girl! Am I right that, by analogy with (1a), (2a) means (...
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'she must NOT have made it' vs. 'she mustn't have made it' vs. 'she must have not made it'

In this passage there is a slight pause after 'must' and a stress on 'not': 'I saw Isabella she had a blank expression on her face. I'm not sure what happened with the knife she was carrying it looked ...
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the whereabouts of any given employee

a. I don't know the whereabouts of any given employee at any given time. Does that mean I am not suppose to know the whereabouts of any given employee at any given time. or I have no idea where any ...
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Why is the tag question positive in this dialogue from Downton Abbey? "Then we must be ready by tomorrow, must we?"

In this clip (2:28) of Downton Abbey you can hear Sybil saying: Then we must be ready by tomorrow, must we? Now, if she's using a tag question, why isn't she forming the negative? Maybe I'm ...
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It's only the fool who becomes anything. - Why is "anything" used?

Why is the word "anything" used even though it cannot be used for affirmative sentences? Why isn't it "something"? I would say it like “It is only a fool who becomes something.”
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negative sentence + until

If I have a negative sentence + until and then another sentence, I can discern two (2) meanings (it's ambiguous). How can someone differentiate between the two (2)? Example: "Ten things that you ...
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What's the difference between "Was this supposed to be...” and “Wasn't this supposed to be…"?

Was this supposed to be ‘cupboard’ instead of ‘cupbard’? Wasn’t this supposed to be ‘cupboard’ instead of ‘cupbard’? I was asking about a spelling error and I was confused if I should use "was&...
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I have a question about question tags

Which sentence has correct question tag, and why? There's little chance for me to win the game, isn't there? There's little chance for me to win the game, is there?
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How to join more than two negative imperatives?

Don't run. Don't talk loud. When you unite the two sentences, which of the two below would be the more appropriate? Don't run and talk loud. Don't run or talk loud. I have another question. How do ...
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What does "as you told me to" in negative sentence mean?

a. I didn't close the door, as you told me to. Does that mean: You told me to close the door and I didn't. You told me not to close the door and I didn't. How about: b. I didn't close the door, as ...
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*Actually not, it's the other way round.* or *Actually, no, it's the other way round.*

Are "actually not" and "actually, no" interchangeable in any context? FOR EXAMPLE: Tom: The Sun rotates around Earth Steve: Actually not, it's the other way round. or Actually, no, ...
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What is the difference between "I'm not something" and "I'm no something" [duplicate]

In the Star Wars: The Clone Wars tv series, when the character Ahsoka Tano is leaving the Jedi Order, she says: I'm no Jedi. Would the phrase "I´m not a Jedi any more" be the correct one? ...
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Is contracting "I have not been" as "I've not been" idiomatic?

Is it idiomatic to contract I have not as I've not instead of I haven't in the present perfect? For example: I have not been to Canada. As I've not been to Canada. He has not ridden a camel. As He's ...
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·What does the second sentence in this paragraph mean?

"If people had invested their money in antiques 20 years ago, they would have found it difficult to make a profit on their investment until very recently. So people who cannot afford for their ...
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Are sentences containing "never" affirmative or negative?

Maybe this is a silly question: can be the sentence "I have never seen Singapore" be considered negative?
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Modals for speculations or logical deductions

Can you, please, help to choose the correct variant? The person on the right in the picture might not/can't/must not be who you say it is. The answer key says that it is must not, but I have never ...
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"as well" in a negative sentence

Is it correct to use "as well" to give an additional condition for which something is not happening? Example: [sentence explaining that no solution exists] if the function is linear. For a ...
Joce's user avatar
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Is "should" or "shouldn't" appropriate in this sentence?

The concept is that whatever is being asked, is negated when expressing uncertainty or confirmation from the recipient. You do know what's up, don't you? They won't show up, will they? But what if ...
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Negation after "but"

I would like to ask which option sounds more natural/common/idiomatic to you. 1a. The hat looks red but the bag does not. 1b. The hat looks red but the bag not. Similarly, could you please also ...
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Rephrasing a sentence with negation and "except"

I don't look as if I have done anything except study in the last three years. I guess its meaning is two fold In fact, there is only one thing that have been done which is "study in the last ...
Stats Cruncher's user avatar
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"What something is?" vs "what is something?"

I can write "what a cup is?" as question and I can write "what is a cup?". Are both forms grammatically correct? The former one looking a bit off when used without context, but I'm ...
Artsiom Miksiuk's user avatar
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I don't think all of them vs I don't think some of them

I'd like to start from "I don't think," but I don't know how. I think some of them don't know the answer. How can I convey the same meaning? I don't think all of them know the answer. I ...
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"Does not return" or "Does not returns"

Context: Software Documentation/Error Messages Lets say we are talking about the capabilities, or lack thereof, of a non human entity (computer/machine) to do something, in this case returning ...
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not by the servant [closed]

a. The ring was stolen not by the servant. It was Tom who stole it. b. The ring was stolen not by the servant. Tom stole it. Are both of the above acceptable in formal English? Are they acceptable in ...
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wouldn't he like that?

Can I use a. Can I send Tom's article to my wife to read, or wouldn't he like that? instead of b. Can I send Tom's article to my wife to read, or would he not like that? ? I know (b) is correct, ...
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2 votes
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Adverb attachment order

Why does I worked hardly. sound so wrong and I hardly worked. is the only correct (or at least idiomatic) expression. Yet I worked quickly. is correct this time and I quickly worked. sounds ...
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What does a negative present perfect progressive tense imply?

I have learned the present perfect progressive on youtube and some other sources. It's clear that the tense implies something that started in the past and continues in the present. However, what does ...
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Tom didn't call Sally because

a. Tom didn't call Sally because he likes her. He doesn't like her at all. He called her because he needed her help. b. Tim says Jack called Sally because he likes her. That's not true. Jack didn't ...
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Meaning of "I’ve never taken anything on a journey that I’d have been less sorry to lose on the way"

I have just finished reading this sentence in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings: In fact, I’ve never taken anything on a journey that I’d have been less sorry to lose on the way. Samwise says that of ...
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anyone with a criminal record

a. Anyone with a criminal record cannot apply for this job. b. Anybody who is Tom's friend cannot be trusted. Are the above sentences grammatical and meaningful? I tend to use 'nobody who... can...' ...
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Isn’t Mary clever?

To find out if Bob will go to work or not, we can ask: (1a) Will Bob go to work? or (1b) Won't Bob go to work? To find out if Mary is clever or not, we can ask: (2a) Is Mary clever? But what does the ...
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One negation used in one sentence with conjunction or two different clauses

I have a question with respect to English interpretation based on strict grammar rules not on context. How would you interpret the following sentence: [The contract would not cancel and survive]? ...
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What is the difference between "Is it not wrong? And Is not it wrong?" [closed]

Recently I hear it a lot in different movies and it is bothering me a lot so I'll be pleased if you guys answer me😃
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