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  1. infiniteone's Avatar
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      • Native Language:
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    • Join Date: Nov 2009
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    #1

    A question about the negative form of past perfect.

    A few days ago, I asked the relevant question concerning this and 'bhaisahab' answered it.
    I so appreciate that.
    The follwing are the answer and question posted before.

    [1."There had not been NOUN"
    There had not been proper notification to the public. This is correct.
    <From 'Joe Nicks - ‎Nov 12, 2009‎'>

    2. "There had been not NOUN"
    There had been not a single documented sighting of the species in the area since 1940. This is correct.
    <From 'Examiner.com - ‎Oct 21, 2009‎'>

    Both sentences are correct, but you couldn't use "had been not" in sentence 1. ]

    Unfortunately, I have difficulty understanding which to use "had not been" or "had been not" in a certain situation.
    Is there any diffrence in meaning or something else between them ?

  2. Raymott's Avatar
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    • Join Date: Jun 2008
    • Posts: 24,091
    #2

    Re: A question about the negative form of past perfect.

    Quote Originally Posted by infiniteone View Post
    A few days ago, I asked the relevant question concerning this and 'bhaisahab' answered it.
    I so appreciate that.
    The follwing are the answer and question posted before.

    [1."There had not been NOUN"
    There had not been proper notification to the public. This is correct.
    <From 'Joe Nicks - ‎Nov 12, 2009‎'>

    2. "There had been not NOUN"
    There had been not a single documented sighting of the species in the area since 1940. This is correct.
    <From 'Examiner.com - ‎Oct 21, 2009‎'>

    Both sentences are correct, but you couldn't use "had been not" in sentence 1. ]

    Unfortunately, I have difficulty understanding which to use "had not been" or "had been not" in a certain situation.
    Is there any diffrence in meaning or something else between them ?
    It depends of whether "not" belongs before the word in the noun phrase. This occurs in other tenses as well. [Neither of your examples is followed by a noun in any case - perhaps a noun phrase is correct.]

    3. We haven't received a single reply = We've received not a single reply.
    In 1 above, that is your only choice.
    In 2, you could have used either.

    My advice to you would be to use the form in 1 and 3, unless you are sure that the form in 2 is correct. That is, "had not been" will usually be correct, whether or not the other version is possible or not.


    • Join Date: Nov 2009
    • Posts: 191
    #3

    Re: A question about the negative form of past perfect.

    Note that they are different constructions:
    1. not/no

    2. ...had not been a/an/the (noun)...
    or
    ...had been not a/an/the (noun)...

    In the first sentence, you could write:
    There had not been proper notification...
    or
    There had been no proper notification...

    The second sentence could be written:
    XX:There had been not a single documented sighting of the species in the area since 1940.
    or
    YY:There had not been a single documented sighting of the species in the area since 1940.
    The first (XX) -'... had been not a...' is used for dramatic effect, such as in court rooms:
    "...and the Prosecution has presented not an iota of evidence that my client was at the scene of the crime."
    ...so mainly use the 'had not been a...' construction rather than 'had been not a...'
    Last edited by Excalibur; 18-Nov-2009 at 12:42.

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