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    #1

    Negation of infinitives

    Hello,

    I have this sentence:

    • He pretended to know the answer.

    How do I negate the second part of this sentence?

    1. He pretended not to know the answer.
    2. He pretended to not know the answer.

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    #2

    Re: Negation of infinitives

    Quote Originally Posted by ucetnanic View Post
    Hello,

    I have this sentence:

    • He pretended to know the answer.

    How do I negate the second part of this sentence?

    1. He pretended not to know the answer.
    2. He pretended to not know the answer.
    Hi,

    Both are fine. I prefer the first but that's purely personal.

    As an aside a version which might have been used in the 18th century and previous would be 'He pretended to know not the answer'.

    Regards

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    #3

    Re: Negation of infinitives


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    #4

    Re: Negation of infinitives

    Quote Originally Posted by birdeen's call View Post
    I had hoped we wouldn't get drawn into this argument which probably divides more people than any other aspect of grammar that I can think of.

    Rgds

  1. 5jj's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Negation of infinitives

    I find this one far more natural: He pretended not to know the answer.

    And that's not because of the split infinitive - I just think it's the one most people use.

    citations: http://www.americancorpus.org/?q=2901330 :
    He pretended not to ...: 55
    He pretended to not...: 0
    Last edited by 5jj; 15-Jan-2011 at 16:17. Reason: figures added.

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    #6

    Re: Negation of infinitives

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    I find this one far more natural: He pretended not to know the answer.
    I agree with this - this is the natural way of negating most infinitives other than possibly adjuncts.


    And that's not because of the split infinitive - I just think it's the one most people use.
    To go off at a tangent, what's wrong with split infinitives anyway :).

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    #7

    Re: Negation of infinitives

    Quote Originally Posted by orangutan View Post
    To go off at a tangent, what's wrong with split infinitives anyway :).
    Nothing, in my opinion.

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    #8

    Re: Negation of infinitives

    In everyday speech you'll hear both. I was trained to say "He pretended not to know the answer" because of the split infinitive rule. In practice, I say both and no one seems to care.

    I am not a teacher but want to be one one day.

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