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Thread: Correct grammar

    • Join Date: Aug 2005
    • Posts: 1

    Correct grammar

    Can you please explain which is correct grammar

    "I do not think you undertand" or

    "I think you do not understand"

    or could it be that they have separate meanings

    • Join Date: Aug 2005
    • Posts: 92

    Re: Correct grammar

    Hi, both sentences are grammatically correct but they are different in terms of `construction` which in my opinion (I`m a Pole - I may be wrong) implies a little bit different meaning to those examples (at least in my language).

    The first difference emerges from how the sentences are built and you should take allowance for that if you are not aware of it:

    "I think you do not understand" - the pattern here is: a)I THINK + b)anything else that is a ... stream of your thoughts

    "I do not think you understand" - the pattern here is a)I DON`T THINK + b)anything else but determined by the a) part

    Or maybe what I`m writing doesn`t make any sense because it depends on the culture you come from. For example: when I`m looking down on somebody I would say "I don`t think you understand it" - I would use it when being malicious to somebody, saying " I think you don`t understamd it" would be normal, let`s say that "I think..." is 100% of what you want to say and "I don`t think..." may be 105% if you use it that way.

  1. Casiopea's Avatar

    • Join Date: Sep 2003
    • Posts: 12,970

    Re: Correct grammar

    Welcome, Maureen.

    I really like Szynom's reply. In addition,

    [1] I don't think you understand.
    I didn't say you didn't understand, maybe you do, maybe you don't. My point is, I'm the one who is not sure . . . if you understand or not.

    [2] I think you don't understand.
    That's what I believe. I'm sure of it: you don't understand.

    To assume to know what someone else thinks or doesn't think can be somewhat forward and, for some people, slightly offensive, so speakers, in an attempt not to offend, delicately place "not", the negative element, near the pronoun referring to them (as in [1]) instead of near a pronoun referring to the listener (as in [2]).

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