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  1. keannu's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Korean
      • Home Country:
      • South Korea
      • Current Location:
      • South Korea

    • Join Date: Dec 2010
    • Posts: 5,226

    not to lose the game or to not lose the game?

    I frequently see "to not" instead of "not to" which seems grammar-wise incorrect, but is it acceptable or do they make such a mistake knowing it's wrong?

    ex)He did his best to not lose the game.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Laos

    • Join Date: Nov 2002
    • Posts: 57,815

    Re: not to lose the game or to not lose the game?

    The 'rule' about splitting infinitives is one that is both widely ignored by speakers and very disputed- it is one of those prescriptions that can raise the temperature of a discussion. With such cases, there is always the trusty fall-back of recommending that people don't do it in formal language.

    With a negative, I would generally use not to, but when I want to give extra emphasis or suggest volition, I sometimes reverse the order- if there's no reason for doing it, then I don't. Other people may handle things differently. I am not convinced it's a very helpful rule because it is so widely broken that it is hard to show that it exists- students who are taught it will go outside the classroom and find it broken every day by native speakers.

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