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    #1

    UNLESS + NEGATIVE

    Is it possible to use a verb in negative after 'unless'. Something like: 'I will buy the CDs unless I don't have enough money.' We found the sentence in our Laser FCE textbook. After consulting it with our teacher, who said that the structure wasn't correct, which confirmed what we had thought, I would like to have some kind of feedback from native English teachers. Thank you in advance.

  1. Calis's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: UNLESS + NEGATIVE

    Is it possible to use a verb in negative after 'unless'? I don't think so. Is it possible that you could use a question mark with a question? Yes.

    It makes sense – You can have negative + unless + positive, therefore you can have positive +unless + negative, but to me, it is counter-intuitive. But then again, I'm not sure. Be safe and stick with negative + unless + positive.

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    #3

    Re: UNLESS + NEGATIVE

    Quote Originally Posted by Calis View Post
    Is it possible to use a verb in negative after 'unless'? I don't think so. Is it possible that you could use a question mark with a question? Yes.

    It makes sense – You can have negative + unless + positive, therefore you can have positive +unless + negative, but to me, it is counter-intuitive. But then again, I'm not sure. Be safe and stick with negative + unless + positive.

    [Not a teacher]
    Thank you for your answer. However, I do not understand your comparison :'You can have negative + unless + positive, therefore you can have positive +unless + negative' . To me, there are grammatical rules that you are seemingly neglecting in your sentence. 'In the first part of your sentence NEGATIVE - UNLESS - POSITIVE, I do not see any problem, but putting it down to the second part POSITIVE - UNLESS - NEGATIVE seems illogical. In the first clause you can undoubtedly have negative, but this negative does not have anything to do with the second part of the sentence that is preceded by UNLESS. To me, it is counter-intuitive as well.
    Last edited by tom3m; 05-Jun-2012 at 18:55.

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    #4

    Re: UNLESS + NEGATIVE

    Quote Originally Posted by tom3m View Post
    Is it possible to use a verb in negative after 'unless'. Something like: 'I will buy the CDs unless I don't have enough money.' We found the sentence in our Laser FCE textbook. After consulting it with our teacher, who said that the structure wasn't correct, which confirmed what we had thought, I would like to have some kind of feedback from native English teachers. Thank you in advance.
    I'd say 'I will buy the CDs unless I don't have enough money.' is possible, but not natural English. We'd be more likely to say "I will buy the CDs if they are not too expensive".

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    #5

    Re: UNLESS + NEGATIVE

    Quote Originally Posted by bhaisahab View Post
    I'd say 'I will buy the CDs unless I don't have enough money.' is possible, but not natural English. We'd be more likely to say "I will buy the CDs if they are not too expensive".
    Thank you,
    after reading your post, I have only two more questions:
    1) Am I right that it si highly unlikely to find such a sentence in a textbook designed to help students to pass the FCE exam?

    2) I was taught that after UNLESS and UNTILL, the negative s marked with the prefix UN-. Therefore, we cannot use negatives after them. Can you clarify it, please? Thank you
    Last edited by tom3m; 07-Jun-2012 at 19:26.

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    #6

    Re: UNLESS + NEGATIVE

    Originally Posted by bhaisahab
    I'd say 'I will buy the CDs unless I don't have enough money.' is possible, but not natural English. We'd be more likely to say "I will buy the CDs if they are not too expensive".



    Thank you,
    after reading your post, I have only two more questions:
    1) Am I right that it si highly unlikely to find such a sentence in a textbook designed to help students to pass the
    FCE
    exam?

    2) I was taught that after UNLESS and UNTILL, the negative s marked with the prefix UN-. Therefore, we cannot use negatives after them. Can you clarify it, please? Thank you

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    #7

    Re: UNLESS + NEGATIVE

    Quote Originally Posted by tom3m View Post
    Is it possible to use a verb in negative after 'unless'. Something like: 'I will buy the CDs unless I don't have enough money.' We found the sentence in our Laser FCE textbook. After consulting it with our teacher, who said that the structure wasn't correct, which confirmed what we had thought, I would like to have some kind of feedback from native English teachers. Thank you in advance.
    I don't see anything wrong with the sentence.

  3. 5jj's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: UNLESS + NEGATIVE

    Quote Originally Posted by SoothingDave View Post
    I don't see anything wrong with the sentence.
    I agree.

    I think that in writing there may be a tendency to avoid a pile-up of negative ideas, but in speech, where we often don't know when we begin a sentence how we will finish it, utterances that styists disapprove of are common - and natural. I think that the following are perfectly natural, if perhaps informal:

    I won't be here next week, unless he doesn't fire me after all. The speaker is fairly sure that 'he' (his boss) will fire him.
    I won't water the garden tomorrow, unles it doesn't rain. Rain has been forecast for tomorrow.

    @tom3m. The 'un' of 'until' was originally 'und' (= as far as); the 'un' of 'unless was originally 'on'. Neither has anything to do with the negative prefix 'un'.

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