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    #1

    a wh- question involving "think" in the negative case

    Dear teachers,

    Please tell me which of the following versions of the sentence is what you native speakers use and very comfortable with:

    1. Why do you think your mom is not a helicopter parent?
    2. Why do you not think your mom is a helicopter parent?
    3. Why don't you think your mom is a helicopter parent?

    This question came to me when this afternoon I was thinking about how to conduct my English classes next week where I would like to discuss the topic of "helicopter parent" with my students before I ask them to write a body paragraph on this topic as an in-class writing activity. I plan to first introduce them to the concept of "helicopter parent" and then ask them, "Is your mom/dad a helicopter parent?" To this question, no doubt there will be either an affirmative answer or a negative answer from my students(Certainly some students may say that they find it hard to decide whether their mom/ dad is or not). Then, in order to help them generate ideas for their writing, I need to ask the follow-up questions of "Why do you think she/he is a helicopter parent?" and "Why do you think he or she is not a helicopter parent?" corresponding to students' positive answer and negative answer. My Collins COBUILD English Usage tells me on p.714 that:

    Instead of saying that you think something is not the case, you usually say that you don't think it is the case.
    I don't think they really represent the people.
    I don't think there is any doubt about that.

    However, the dictionary does not tell me how to structure a wh-question involving "think" in the negative case. Which one or two of 1, 2 and 3 is/are correct? Please do not overthink, just tell me what you native speakers of English use very often when you are in this situation-- that is, which one(s) sound(s) quite natural to your native ears? Thanks a lot.


    Richard

  1. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: a wh- question involving "think" in the negative case

    Before you discuss it with your students, I'd love to know what on earth a helicopter parent is!
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #3

    Re: a wh- question involving "think" in the negative case

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    Before you discuss it with your students, I'd love to know what on earth a helicopter parent is!
    A helicopter parent is one who is overly attentive to their child or children's needs. Such a parent is just like a helicopter hovering overhead, being always worried about their children or paying extremely close attention to their feelings. To some extent, I am one to my only-child daughter.

  2. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: a wh- question involving "think" in the negative case

    Quote Originally Posted by ohmyrichard View Post
    A helicopter parent is one who is overly attentive to their child or children's needs. Such a parent is just like a helicopter hovering overhead, being always worried about their children or paying extremely close attention to their feelings. To some extent, I am one to my only-child daughter.
    I've never heard that before.

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    #5

    Re: a wh- question involving "think" in the negative case

    Whilst I can see the benefit of discussing anything in class which all the children understand and which may well lead to a lively debate, I don't think it's a good idea to use a phrase which isn't used in English as the basis for that discussion. I assume "helicopter parent" is a direct translation. We don't have a generic term for such people in English - I imagine most people would simply say "over-attentive parent", "over-protective parent" or in the case of keeping their children indoors (and safe) at all times, "over-cautious parent".
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  4. konungursvia's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: a wh- question involving "think" in the negative case

    It's common over on this side of the pond, where the problem is frequent: obsessive moms who won't back off and let the child make his or her own decisions/mistakes. Frequently, such kids are enrolled in activities every night of the week: Football, chess, ballet, piano, etc. And the parents are always nearby, ready to interfere or interject.

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    #7

    Re: a wh- question involving "think" in the negative case

    Quote Originally Posted by konungursvia View Post
    It's common over on this side of the pond, where the problem is frequent: obsessive moms who won't back off and let the child make his or her own decisions/mistakes. Frequently, such kids are enrolled in activities every night of the week: Football, chess, ballet, piano, etc. And the parents are always nearby, ready to interfere or interject.
    Fair enough. I stand corrected.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  6. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: a wh- question involving "think" in the negative case

    Quote Originally Posted by ohmyrichard View Post
    Dear teachers,

    Please tell me which of the following versions of the sentence is what you native speakers use and very comfortable with:

    1. Why do you think your mom is not a helicopter parent?
    2. Why do you not think your mom is a helicopter parent?
    3. Why don't you think your mom is a helicopter parent?

    This question came to me when this afternoon I was thinking about how to conduct my English classes next week where I would like to discuss the topic of "helicopter parent" with my students before I ask them to write a body paragraph on this topic as an in-class writing activity. I plan to first introduce them to the concept of "helicopter parent" and then ask them, "Is your mom/dad a helicopter parent?" To this question, no doubt there will be either an affirmative answer or a negative answer from my students(Certainly some students may say that they find it hard to decide whether their mom/ dad is or not). Then, in order to help them generate ideas for their writing, I need to ask the follow-up questions of "Why do you think she/he is a helicopter parent?" and "Why do you think he or she is not a helicopter parent?" corresponding to students' positive answer and negative answer. My Collins COBUILD English Usage tells me on p.714 that:

    Instead of saying that you think something is not the case, you usually say that you don't think it is the case.
    I don't think they really represent the people.
    I don't think there is any doubt about that.

    However, the dictionary does not tell me how to structure a wh-question involving "think" in the negative case. Which one or two of 1, 2 and 3 is/are correct? Please do not overthink, just tell me what you native speakers of English use very often when you are in this situation-- that is, which one(s) sound(s) quite natural to your native ears? Thanks a lot.


    Richard
    All three of your questions are grammatically correct. Of the three, I prefer the first.

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    #9

    Re: a wh- question involving "think" in the negative case

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork View Post
    All three of your questions are grammatically correct. Of the three, I prefer the first.
    Thank you, MikeNewYork.
    So, you mean that in this wh- question we do not need to advance the "not" to make it part of the main clause of "Why do you think"?

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    #10

    Re: a wh- question involving "think" in the negative case

    Quote Originally Posted by ohmyrichard View Post
    Thank you, MikeNewYork.
    So, you mean that in this wh- question we do not need to advance the "not" to make it part of the main clause of "Why do you think"?
    Correct.

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