Questions tagged [negation]

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

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Aren't these the same: "KEEP OUT" vs "DON'T ENTER" or "KEEP QUIET" vs "DON'T MAKE NOISE"?

I have seen on a door of a room "KEEP OUT". Apparently, they do not want people to enter the room. But suddenly I reminded of other instances of "KEEP" being used as an positive ...
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Don't occasionally/don't sometimes

What are other adverbs that can't be negated just like "sometimes" and "occasionally"? I don't sometimes drink milk. I don't occasionally drink milk.
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Confusion in 'not' sentences

Read the following sentence. "He didn't play cricket because of Tim" This means he is playing cricket but it is not because of Tim What if i wanna say he is not playing cricket . The reason ...
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Is "Why not more?" a correct question?

Is Why not more? correct, or should it be Why no more? What does it mean, then? Why don't you want anymore of something? Or the opposite: Why not having some more of something?
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"will you not open the door" meaning

Will you not open the door? That could be a request for the listener to open the door. But could it also be a request for the listener not to open the door?
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What is the answer for "Mary ____ to the USA before last year"? [closed]

Mary...........to the USA before last year. (has been, had been, hasn't been, hadn't been) I know that the answer is "hadn't been" or "had been". But what is the exact answer of ...
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Is this a rhetorical question?

Did you see what I did there? Is this a rhetorical question? I think yes and no depending on the context like for example He shot the ball right into the basket and exclaimed, "Did you see what ...
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Is "relax a little" negated?

I'd like to know what this structure really means. It's confusing. But anyway, I'm inclined to meaning 2. S: We should not let our work take over our lives and relax a little. Meaning 1: We should not ...
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Is "not" correct here? "There's not room in my car's trunk, but yours is bigger"

Is it correct to use "not" here, or is it only "no" needed here? If so, which option is more idiomatic? "There's not room in my car's trunk, but yours is bigger".
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Carry the luggage for me, _________? A. Will you B. Won't you [duplicate]

According to the answer sheet, B is the answer. Does that make A incorrect? What difference do these 2 make in the meaning? Plus, is B more polite? It seems kind of frustrated to me.
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double negation

May it not become nothing, like the clouds that pour rains and then disappear May it not become anything like the clouds that pour rains and then disappear I believe the first version is fine with a ...
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Which of these sentences is gramatically correct?

I was just wondering if there was a grammatical rule or consensus that would make one of these sentences preferable to the other one: Some people think drinking is not good. Some people don't think ...
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Logical approach to “nobody’s” [closed]

“I didn’t grow up under anybody’s care”. It means “I grew up under no care”. To express it, isn’t “I grew up under nobody’s care” incorrect? Logically, I think it should be “I grew up under no body’s ...
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If clause in a conditional sentence: didn't have vs hadn't

I have a sentence in an exam that says: [1] I WOULD COME if I DIDN'T HAVE other plans. Is it right to say the sentence: [2] I would come if I HADN'T other plans. I am having trouble deciding.
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Can I negate nouns with negative words?

“People in nowhere live on the other planets”. It means people in everywhere don’t live on the other planets. “People in nowhere can fly in the sky”. It means people in everywhere can’t fly in the sky....
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"There was no bus today" or "There was not a bus today"?

I want to tell my friend that bus didn't come today (in the morning). Which of the following sentences are acceptable: There was no bus today. There was not a bus today. I know first one is right ...
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his jokes became more unfunny

a. His jokes were not funny at first and then they became even more not funny. Is (a) grammatically correct? It makes sense. I am not sure one could use 'less funny' here, because they were not funny ...
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not so simple for me [closed]

a. The barbed wire made it not easy to get to the other side. b. He thought he might make things simple for me. Then he decided he better make them not simple. c. He thought he might make things ...
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Should I use "did you" or "didn't you" in the following?

You decided that she wasn't the right person for you, did you/didn't you? Should it be did you or didn't you here? And why?
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Is this a double negation: "doesn't exist for neither X nor Y"

I'm having doubts about how to best put this in English, I'm torn between 3 options. Which of them are legal, and which is stylistically the best? I want to convey that a solution does not exist for A ...
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Is 'not until' correct here?

A: So when did he let you know he was dating your ex? B: He didn't really. Not until recently. Is 'not until' correct and idiomatic here? (if I intend it to mean that the guy dating the ex didn't ...
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How to negate a sentence

I'm kind of lost here. In a software that I'm programming it has a condition that when satisfied will not execute the profiles, none, not a single one. How to correctly express this? "Will not ...
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Can anyone explain what the first part of this sentence means, in simple way?

The sentence is She was criticized by her fellow lawyers not because she was not hardworking, but because she so minutely prepared her cases that she failed to bring the expected number to trial ...
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Which is correct and why? "How can I not...?" or "How can't I...?"

How can I not know this? How can't I know this? Which one of the two sentences is correct? Or maybe they are both correct, but different in meaning.
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5 votes
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I'd rather you hadn't

I’d rather do something I’d rather not do something I’d rather not have done something I’d rather you did something I’d rather you did not do something I’d rather you had not done something When ...
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Can I modify a quantifier with “not”?

There’s a 2/3 apple. There’s a not whole (=incomplete) apple. There’s a not half apple. Are these two sentences acceptable?
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Use "to look forward" in kind of a negative sense

About a week ago, I had a written test in English, and it was about a story we had to answer questions about. The story was about a kid, who got bullied at his old school, but he moved away with his ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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Is this sentence grammatically correct? "there isn't a"

I want to know whether this sentence is valid or not which I was studying for my third language in Duolingo and got a wrong answer. The general format of the sentence is: "There isn't a/an <...
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not in the usual way

a. He opened the envelop not in the usual way. b. He wrote the letter not in the cursive handwriting he habitually used. Are these sentences grammatically correct? I think normally one would expect a '...
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can do it in any manner

a. I can do it in any manner. I think that means that I can do it in all possible ways. b, I doubt you can do it in any manner. It seems to me that (b) is ambiguous. It could mean I doubt you can do ...
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1 vote
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There aren't many vs. there aren't a lot of

I have field practice in a school now, and I had an argument with a teacher of English there. She says 'there aren't a lot of [...]' is incorrect, and 'there aren't many' should be used instead. I ...
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Each & every in negative sentences

There are three fruits - an apple, banana and melon. I hate the apple and banana, but I love the melon. In this case, are the sentences “I don’t hate every fruits of them” and “I don’t hate each ...
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same-way tag questions and broadly negative elements

Some books say there are two types of tag questions: the ordinary type and the same-way type. The ordinary type is used to make an assumption or guess and seek confirmation from the hearer. The form ...
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difference between 'there is not a' and 'there is not any' constructions in the following sentences

A grammar book I am reading says in some cases 'no' = 'not a' or 'not any', and gives the following two examples: (1) We had to walk home because there was no bus. (= there wasn't a bus) (2) There ...
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might not be good VS might be not good

I've been taught that when making a negative with a sentence with a modal verb in it, not should be placed right after the modal verb as in She might not be good. But I wonder how about another ...
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1 vote
0 answers
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negative sentence, does do a non-a VS does not do a

I read document at this link, https://git-scm.com/docs/git-merge#_fast_forward_merge The following sentence I don't know why they write the way: Often the current branch head is an ancestor of the ...
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won't do it under any conditions

Which is correct: I won't work for you under just any conditions simply to make ends meet. Some requirements will have to be met regarding the workplace before I start work. I won't work for you ...
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1 vote
2 answers
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What is the difference between "we know of no X" vs. "we don't know any X", if any?

Example: We know of no civilian casualties (from the Hill) We don't know any civilian casualties
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Usage of “because” for introducing insufficient reason (instead of reason)

Obviously, "because" introduces a subordinate clause to provide a reason (clause of reason) for the main clause "He is sad" in the following sentence. He is sad because he has ...
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6 answers
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Can I safely use "not" instead of words with negative prefixes?

Sometimes it's difficult for me as a learner to remember the negative word as a new word with prefix. For example, the negative of pleasant is unpleasant. Can I safely use not instead? I'm not ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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No intention to do something

Don't say that someone ‘has no intention to do’ something, but '...of doing something'. https://www.wordreference.com/EnglishUsage/intention Why is it so? (Not) to intend to do something is ...
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Aren’t I? vs. Am I not?

I am a good man, aren’t I? I am a good man, am I not? The first sentence is often used. According to grammar books, the second sentence is also correct, but it is rarely used. Can native speakers ...
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Negative of a clause or phrase at the outset of an enumeration + "or" / "and no"

Fowler reads When the negative of a clause or phrase has appeared at the outset of an enumeration, and a disjunctive conjunction is needed, or is generally better than nor. The initial negative ...
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did not do it for

a. Tom didn't vote for Dan and neither did I. But Tom didn't vote for Dan for the wrong reasons. (The reasons for which Tom didn't vote for Dan were not the right reasons.) b. I didn't speak out ...
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What's the difference between sentence with "though" and without?

For example: It would be nice though. vs. It would be nice. In a real conversation scene.
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1 answer
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Agreement negation

"I don't agree totally with all you said" Does that mean - I agree for the most part with some disagreement? Edit: Some of the answers provided are a bit contradictory. It is important to ...
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3 votes
2 answers
312 views

I don't doubt but you'll do it

BUT (conjunction) that (used esp. after words like doubt, deny, etc., with a negative word like not): I don't doubt but you'll do it. https://www.wordreference.com/definition/but Isn't the example ...
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1 answer
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not different from

If two things are quite similar, you can say that one thing is not very/much different from the other. If two things are alike, you can say that one thing is no different from the other. Don't say ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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Verbal and Non-verbal Negation

'He knows not the truth' I was studying about Clausal Negation and then suddenly this sentence came to my mind. Now I am confused of what category it is. It is a verbal Negation or a Non-verbal ...
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1 answer
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He's very good with children and no slouch around the house either/too

He's very good with children and no slouch around the house either/too Which option either or too is grammatically correct here?
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