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    #1

    Negatives without auxiliary

    Hi! I wonder if anyone can help me. I am an English teacher looking for an explanation as to why this sentence does not require an auxiliary verb:

    You can choose not to get married.

    Of course I know it is this and not "don't" get married but I cannot fathom why! I know the rules about reported speech and passives but I cannot work out exactly how this sentence works in relation to that. Every search has lead me to a dead end so I would be extremely grateful if anyone can shed any light on this for me!! Maybe one day I can return the favour!

    Thanks and I look forward to hearing your thoughts,

    Steph.

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    #2

    Re: Negatives without auxiliary

    We make infinitives negative with not and there's no need for an auxiliary verb- to be or not to be, etc.

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    #3

    Re: Negatives without auxiliary

    Quote Originally Posted by stephie View Post
    Hi! I wonder if anyone can help me. I am an English teacher looking for an explanation as to why this sentence does not require an auxiliary verb:

    You can choose not to get married.

    Of course I know it is this and not "don't" get married but I cannot fathom why! I know the rules about reported speech and passives but I cannot work out exactly how this sentence works in relation to that. Every search has lead me to a dead end so I would be extremely grateful if anyone can shed any light on this for me!! Maybe one day I can return the favour!

    Thanks and I look forward to hearing your thoughts,

    Steph.
    You have an auxiliary, 'can' - albeit that, as Tdol says, you don't need one here: "He chose not to marry".

    Without infinitives:
    How can you not like me? auxiliary - 'can'
    Why don't you like me? = Why do you not like me? auxiliary - 'do'
    Might you not help me, rather than just criticising? 'might'
    Won't you help me? = Will you not help me. 'will'
    He doesn't help me. 'do'
    He shouldn't help me. 'should'

    Of course, if you use slightly archaic English, you don't need a helper verb at all:
    He loves me not.

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    #4

    Re: Negatives without auxiliary

    'e luvs me, 'e luvs me not.
    Don't you have to be holding a daisy and pulling off the petals to say that? Holding a daisy has the power to render the syntax acceptable to everyone. This is druid magic from Old England.

    The reason you don't use an auxiliary with 'to get' is that it is not a verb. If it were, you could say:

    *You can choose might/can/should/ought not to get married. Or even: *I to get.

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    #5

    Re: Negatives without auxiliary

    Quote Originally Posted by Pedroski View Post
    'e luvs me, 'e luvs me not.
    Don't you have to be holding a daisy and pulling off the petals to say that? Holding a daisy has the power to render the syntax acceptable to everyone. This is druid magic from Old England.

    The reason you don't use an auxiliary with 'to get' is that it is not a verb. If it were, you could say:

    *You can choose might/can/should/ought not to get married. Or even: *I to get.
    (to) get is a verb - or at least the infintive form of the verb. Like gerunds and participles it is a non-finite part of the verb; it cannot be used with a subject.

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    #6

    Re: Negatives without auxiliary

    Quote Originally Posted by Pedroski View Post
    The reason you don't use an auxiliary with 'to get' is that it is not a verb.


    I am afraid you have lost me here.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pedroski View Post
    If it were, you could say:

    *You can choose might/can/should/ought not to get married. Or even: *I to get.
    I am sorry, but again the logic escapes me- verbs are not normally followed by modals, so what is the logic here- as a proof that to get is not a verb, this is not at all persuasive IMO.
    Last edited by Tdol; 26-Oct-2010 at 11:21.

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    #7

    Re: Negatives without auxiliary

    Quote Originally Posted by stephie View Post
    Hi! I wonder if anyone can help me. I am an English teacher looking for an explanation as to why this sentence does not require an auxiliary verb:

    You can choose not to get married.

    Of course I know it is this and not "don't" get married but I cannot fathom why! I know the rules about reported speech and passives but I cannot work out exactly how this sentence works in relation to that. Every search has lead me to a dead end so I would be extremely grateful if anyone can shed any light on this for me!! Maybe one day I can return the favour!

    Thanks and I look forward to hearing your thoughts,

    Steph.

    ***** NOT a teacher *****


    (1) I have found some information in Dr. George O. Curme's

    masterpiece, A Grammar of the English Language, that I would like to

    share with you.

    (2) IF I read correctly, it seems that there is a rule for negating

    sentences:

    The adverb "not" must FOLLOW a verb and must stand IN FRONT of an infinitive or participle that carries the real verbal meaning.

    I WILL not EAT. ("Not" follows a verb -- will -- and stands before the infinitive -- eat -- that carries the real verbal meaning.)

    I HAVE not EATEN. ("Not" follows a verb -- have --and stands before the participle -- eaten --that carries the real verbal meaning.)




    You can CHOOSE not TO GET MARRIED. ("Not" follows a verb -- choose --and stands before the infinitive that you really want to negate -- to get married.)

    *****

    A "problem" arises with a sentence like "I work."

    Professor Curme says that "I not work" was grammatical

    years ago (e.g., Shakespeare's "It not appears to me.").

    The good professor says that the English people came to view this

    construction as "unnatural." So they came up with a wonderful

    solution: just insert a form of "do":

    I DO not WORK.

    Now the sentence is grammatical because :

    * "Not" follows a verb (do).
    *"Not" stands before the infinitive with real verbal meaning (work).

    Conclusion:

    Perhaps your sentence does not need "do" because it ALREADY

    meets the requirements for a good negative sentence:

    "Not" follows a verb (choose) + "Not" stands before the infinitive that you wish to really negate (to get married).

    P. S. All of the example sentences were mine. Do not blame Professor

    Curme if I have made any mistakes or misinterpreted his scholarly work.

    ***** NOT a teacher *****

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    #8

    Re: Negatives without auxiliary

    Quote Originally Posted by stephie View Post
    Hi! I wonder if anyone can help me. I am an English teacher looking for an explanation as to why this sentence does not require an auxiliary verb:

    You can choose not to get married.

    Of course I know it is this and not "don't" get married but I cannot fathom why! I know the rules about reported speech and passives but I cannot work out exactly how this sentence works in relation to that. Every search has lead me to a dead end so I would be extremely grateful if anyone can shed any light on this for me!! Maybe one day I can return the favour!

    Thanks and I look forward to hearing your thoughts,

    Steph.
    I'm frankly a little baffled, Steph, as to why you would imagine that an auxiliary verb would be needed here in the first place!

    You choose, positively, to do something and, negatively, not to do it.

    What need could there be of any other words here??

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