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  1. #1
    svetik is offline Junior Member
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    Default Negative questions

    Hello,
    Do we always have to put NOT after auxilary in questions?
    For example, why isn't it working?
    Can we also say- Why is it not working?
    Thank you

  2. #2
    tedtmc is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Negative questions

    not a teacher

    'Isn't it' (short form) and 'is it not' are the same.

  3. #3
    svetik is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Negative questions

    Quote Originally Posted by tedtmc View Post
    not a teacher

    'Isn't it' (short form) and 'is it not' are the same.
    I thought that non-contracted form of ISN'T IT is IS NOT IT and not IS IT NOT.
    Am I wrong?

  4. #4
    tedtmc is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Negative questions

    Why is not it working?

    That's not correct obviously.

  5. #5
    svetik is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Negative questions

    Quote Originally Posted by tedtmc View Post
    Why is not it working?

    That's not correct obviously.
    So, in this structure we can only use the short form- isn't it working, can't we?

  6. #6
    tedtmc is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Negative questions

    You can use both but 'isn't' is used more often in spoken English rather than written English.

  7. #7
    bhaisahab's Avatar
    bhaisahab is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: Negative questions

    Quote Originally Posted by svetik View Post
    I thought that non-contracted form of ISN'T IT is IS NOT IT and not IS IT NOT.
    Am I wrong?
    Yes, you are wrong. "isn't it" is the contraction of "is it not" likewise with "doesn't it" (does it not), "wasn't it" (was it not) etc.

  8. #8
    TheParser is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Negative questions

    Quote Originally Posted by svetik View Post
    Hello,
    Do we always have to put NOT after auxilary in questions?
    For example, why isn't it working?
    Can we also say- Why is it not working?
    Thank you
    ***NOT A TEACHER***svetik, good morning. This is one of those interesting aspects of English. (1) You do not work. (2) Why do you not work? (3) Why don't you work? (3) *Why do not you work = "bad" English. (4) He is not here. (5) Is he not here? (6) Isn't he here? (7)*Is not he here? = "bad" English. If you study these examples, you will see a pattern that will guide you in understanding similar sentences. Thank you.

  9. #9
    orangutan is offline Member
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    Default Re: Negative questions

    Quote Originally Posted by svetik View Post
    I thought that non-contracted form of ISN'T IT is IS NOT IT and not IS IT NOT.
    Am I wrong?
    Well, we know that the word order for this type of question is Auxiliary + Subject, and the auxiliary should be one word. If we add the contracted form n't to the auxiliary, that makes a negative auxiliary, which also counts as a single word, so it can precede the subject. On the other hand Auxiliary + Not is two words, and cannot precede the subject; the "not" has to stay in its normal adverbial slot after the subject.

    So:
    isn't it = fine (Aux + Subj)
    is not it = wrong (Aux + something else + Subj)
    is it not = fine (Aux + Subj + something else)

    I am not 100% sure, but I think this is right. Hope it helps.

  10. #10
    svetik is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Negative questions

    Thank you very much!
    I have aways used the correct variant but couldn't explain why and couldn't find the explanation in the books.
    I appriciate your help

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