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    #1

    not friendly vs. unfriendly

    Hi,

    I wonder if there is any difference in meaning/implication:

    1. John is not friendly.
    2. John is unfriendly.

    Thank you very much.

    Csika

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    #2

    Re: not friendly vs. unfriendly

    No difference.

  1. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: not friendly vs. unfriendly

    I don't know that I agree.
    If John makes a point of saying hello, he is friendly.
    If John doesn't make a point of saying hello, he is not friendly.
    If you say hello to John and he does not say hello back, he is unfriendly.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  2. Calis's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: not friendly vs. unfriendly

    To clarify Barb_D's point, saying John is not friendly means that he isn't friendly. It is not a trait he possesses. Whereas saying John is unfriendly means that he is the opposite of friendly.

    [Not a teacher]

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    #5

    Re: not friendly vs. unfriendly

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    I don't know that I agree.
    If John makes a point of saying hello, he is friendly.
    If John doesn't make a point of saying hello, he is not friendly.
    If you say hello to John and he does not say hello back, he is unfriendly.
    From another "Googled" source:

    "The meaning is the same, and they could be used synonymously. #1 would more often refer to a specific instance, a passing mood, while #2 would more often refer to a personality trait."
    .



    Jul 12 2008 09:33:20




    Last edited by billmcd; 14-Jun-2012 at 02:54. Reason: typo

  3. 5jj's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: not friendly vs. unfriendly

    Quote Originally Posted by billmcd View Post
    From another "Googled" source
    If you quote from another site, please credit the source: unfriendly vs. not friendly?

    I agree with Barb.

  4. Make Your English Work's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: not friendly vs. unfriendly

    I agree with Barb. If a person behaves in a way that is the opposite of friendliness, for example by being rude, they are "unfriendly."
    A person can be "not friendly" and also "not unfriendly" at the same time.

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    #8

    Re: not friendly vs. unfriendly

    As always, context matters. You could use not friendly to mean unfriendly, but decontextualised, I would agree that the absence of friendliness doesn't automatically imply unfriendliness.

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    #9

    Re: not friendly vs. unfriendly

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    If you quote from another site, please credit the source: unfriendly vs. not friendly?

    I agree with Barb.
    FYI, here are a few sources to support my "no difference" in response to the original thread , at face value and lacking additional context: englishforum.com, dictionary.com, and as the primary definition of "unfriendly" (i.e. "not friendly") from Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary and thefreedictionary.com.
    And finally (at least from here), consider the following dialogue:
    (She) Remember, we're going to dinner at my sister's on Saturday.
    (He) Oh no. You know I don't like to go there.
    (She) Why?
    (He) Because her husband, John, is unfriendly/not friendly. (Either one works for me .)

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