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  1. Nightmare85's Avatar
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    #1

    "to not" instead of "not to"

    Hello,
    Is it okay to use "to not" instead of "not to" if it's suitable?

    He told me to not waste my time with you.
    They have decided to not repair the car.

    Can you maybe write a sentence where "not to" would definitely be wrong but "to not" would be right?
    This could help me to understand the rule better.

    Thank you!

    Cheers!

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    #2

    Exclamation Re: "to not" instead of "not to"

    Quote Originally Posted by Nightmare85 View Post
    Hello,
    Is it okay to use "to not" instead of "not to" if it's suitable?

    He told me to not waste my time with you.
    They have decided to not repair the car.

    Can you maybe write a sentence where "not to" would definitely be wrong but "to not" would be right?
    This could help me to understand the rule better.

    Thank you!

    Cheers!
    Please remember; ‘not’ is an adverb and ‘to’ is a preposition. ‘To’ should either be followed by a verb to form infinitive or a noun or noun phrase but not an adverb such as ‘not’. So your first sentence should be:
    He told me not to waste my time with you.
    Placement of an adverb in sentence is very important in order to avoid ambiguity. It is a common practice to place the adverb after the auxiliary but before other verbs. So your second sentence should be changed to:
    They have not decided to repair the car (formal)
    They have decided not to repair the car.( informal)
    not to say is a common phrase used when adding a stronger description of something in stead of the phrase not only ... but also:
    The information is inadequate, not to say misleading.
    Last edited by sarat_106; 07-Nov-2009 at 10:59.


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    #3

    Re: "to not" instead of "not to"

    The information is inadequate, not to say misleading.
    Sorry, Sarat, but so is your post.
    'and' is a conjunction, not an "adverb"

    They have not decided to repair the car (formal)
    They have decided not to repair the car.( informal)

    This is not to do with formal/informal/colloquial.

    They have decided not to repair the car
    They have not decided as yet whether to....


    Someone decides to do something, or decides NOT to do something.(sentence 1)
    compare
    when "not" does not refer to 'repair' but to whether they have decided (2):
    They have decided/not decided...

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    #4

    Re: "to not" instead of "not to"

    Quote Originally Posted by Excalibur View Post
    The information is inadequate, not to say misleading.
    Sorry, Sarat, but so is your post.
    'and' is a conjunction, not an "adverb"

    They have not decided to repair the car (formal)
    They have decided not to repair the car.( informal)
    This is not to do with formal/informal/colloquial.

    They have decided not to repair the car
    They have not decided as yet whether to....

    Someone decides to do something, or decides NOT to do something.(sentence 1)
    compare
    when "not" does not refer to 'repair' but to whether they have decided (2):
    They have decided/not decided...
    Sorry, that is a typo. It should be 'not' instead of 'and'

  2. Nightmare85's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: "to not" instead of "not to"

    Hello and thank you!

    Okay, it seems that "to not" is not suitable for these sentences.
    However, one of my favorite sites say that there are many examples for "to not":
    dict.cc | to not | Deutsch-Wrterbuch

    I have not completely understood it so far
    Can you maybe write (if it's actually possible) a sentence where "to not" must be used?

    Thank you!

    Cheers!

  3. Raymott's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: "to not" instead of "not to"

    Quote Originally Posted by Nightmare85 View Post
    Hello and thank you!

    Okay, it seems that "to not" is not suitable for these sentences.
    However, one of my favorite sites say that there are many examples for "to not":
    dict.cc | to not | Deutsch-Wrterbuch

    I have not completely understood it so far
    Can you maybe write (if it's actually possible) a sentence where "to not" must be used?

    Thank you!

    Cheers!
    We generally don't say "to not do something".
    Even if 'verwerfen' is listed as meaning "to not accept", we would still say "I told him not to accept it" = "I told him to refuse it".
    Not "I told him to not accept it".
    Yes, it is possible to say it that way, but it's not idiomatic English.

  4. Nightmare85's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: "to not" instead of "not to"

    Thanks again, but I have another small question.

    What about this:
    To not get any problems with the police, I will belt up.
    (Please don't focus too much on the "belt up", I had no time to search the right word...)
    Because I also could write:
    To prevent getting problems with the police, I will belt up.

    I could not imagine to use the "Not to" in the 1st sentence.

    Cheers!

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    #8

    Re: "to not" instead of "not to"

    You could say "in order not to get into problems with the police I will "belt up" (are you trying to say "sich anschnallen"? If yes, then you should write "I will fasten my seat belt").


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    #9

    Re: "to not" instead of "not to"

    Hi!

    Raymond Chandler wrote: "When I split an infinitive, god damn it, I split it so it stays split."
    Last edited by omasta; 01-Jan-2010 at 02:18.

  5. Nightmare85's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: "to not" instead of "not to"

    Quote Originally Posted by Jasmin165 View Post
    (are you trying to say "sich anschnallen"? If yes, then you should write "I will fasten my seat belt").
    Yes, I wanted to write "sich anschnallen" in English.
    Thanks.

    Okay, thank you all!
    So I guess I will always stay away from "to not"
    I read it one time in some forums and I thought it's common, but the guy was probably wrong.
    My big mistake is that I always believe something's right when it comes from an Englishman or an American.
    They make mistakes, too

    Cheers!

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