Results 1 to 3 of 3
  1. #1
    virus99 is offline Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • Twi
      • Home Country:
      • Bhutan
      • Current Location:
      • Tuvalu
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    124
    Post Thanks / Like

    to negate with "not", here: Simple Past

    Hi forum!

    The police decided not to prosecute.

    Is it exactly the same to say: the police didn't decide to prosecute.
    the police didn't prosecute.

    At school you learn how to negate with "didn't". Somehow, nobody at school teaches the negation with "not" (my own experience; don't feel addressed).

    When do we use or prefer "not" over "didn't"?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    charliedeut's Avatar
    charliedeut is offline VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Interested in Language
      • Native Language:
      • Spanish
      • Home Country:
      • Spain
      • Current Location:
      • Spain
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    5,421
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: to negate with "not", here: Simple Past

    Quote Originally Posted by virus99 View Post
    Hi forum!

    The police decided not to prosecute. They decided to let it pass (maybe because it was a minor offence and not worth the time and resources needed to prosecute).

    Is it exactly the same to say: the police didn't decide to prosecute. No. In this case, maybe someone else decided it for them (the attorney, for instance), but they did prosecute in the end.
    the police didn't prosecute.

    At school you learn how to negate with "didn't". Somehow, nobody at school teaches the negation with "not" (my own experience; don't feel addressed).

    When do we use or prefer "not" over "didn't"?

    Thanks!
    charliedeut
    Please be aware that I'm neither a native English speaker nor a teacher.

  3. #3
    Raymott's Avatar
    Raymott is online now VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Academic
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Australia
      • Current Location:
      • Australia
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    19,887
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: to negate with "not", here: Simple Past

    Quote Originally Posted by virus99 View Post
    Hi forum!

    The police decided not to prosecute.

    Is it exactly the same to say: the police didn't decide to prosecute.
    the police didn't prosecute.

    At school you learn how to negate with "didn't". Somehow, nobody at school teaches the negation with "not" (my own experience; don't feel addressed).

    When do we use or prefer "not" over "didn't"?

    Thanks!
    Your example uses two verbs - 'decide' and 'prosecute'. You have to decide which you are negating.
    The police decided, "We won't prosecute".
    The police did not decide, "We will prosecute".
    The first is a decision; the second isn't.

    I'm sure that when you learnt to negate with 'didn't', they were talking about a sentence with one verb in it:
    "John saw the dog."; "John didn't see the dog."
    You're presenting a different structure.

Similar Threads

  1. [Grammar] Past Simple form of "wet" and "fit"
    By naweewra in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 20-Jul-2012, 16:04
  2. simple past with "yet" ,"alredy"
    By ostap77 in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 14
    Last Post: 14-Sep-2010, 13:24
  3. [Grammar] Difference between "ing"&"simple present" after "to"
    By Gavin1705 in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 21-Jul-2010, 23:51
  4. [Grammar] "might", Past Simple and the Passive
    By 126 in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 25-Aug-2008, 15:29
  5. Replies: 1
    Last Post: 28-Dec-2006, 03:24

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •