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    #1

    not to/to not

    "It's OK to make mistakes; it's not OK not to learn from them"


    What kind of grammar structure is this? Could I use "to not" as a replacement for the bold words?

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    #2

    Re: not to/to not

    The construction is a delayed subject with an expletive "it". Without the expletive:

    To make mistakes
    is OK
    Not to learn from them is not OK

    In each case the subject is clearly a nominal infinitive phrase.

    There's already been a question about the construction "to not" in the last few days. It is not acceptable. Please remember: To be or not to be, that is the question.

  1. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: not to/to not

    I'm one of the people who will tell you to freely split an infinitve. I have no problem with "to not learn." There will be some people, whose number decreases every year, who will tell you that it's not okay to do this. They also probably say "It is I!" when someone says "Who's there." In short: "it's not okay not to learn" and "it's not okay to not learn" are both fine.
    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.

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    #4

    Re: not to/to not

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    I'm one of the people who will tell you to freely split an infinitve. I have no problem with "to not learn." There will be some people, whose number decreases every year, who will tell you that it's not okay to do this. They also probably say "It is I!" when someone says "Who's there." In short: "it's not okay not to learn" and "it's not okay to not learn" are both fine.
    But what if this kind of question pop up in a test? Which one would be the safest bet?

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    #5

    Re: not to/to not

    "Not to"!!

    The reason it's better not to split infinitives is that you never know if someone who has some decision-making power about your fate really dislikes them. And people who dislike them, really, really dislike them. Do you want to risk it? The choice is yours.

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    #6

    Re: not to/to not

    It wouldn't matter in most international English tests, but some like Gmat worry about very minor things. You wouldnt' have a mark deducted in something like IELTS for doing it. However, when in doubt, it is better to play safe.

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