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  1. Junior Member
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    #1

    negative form of infinitive

    I was taught that in the negative form of infinitive "not" should be placed just in front of "to", but I have found some examples in my dictionary which is contrary to this rule. For instance, under the entry of "forgo" in Longman American Dictionary, its definition is like "to decide to not do or have something." Is it OK to use in this way or should it have been "to decide not to do or have something"?

  2. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: negative form of infinitive

    People who cling to the "rule" that we should never split an infinitive will tell you to put the "not" before it.

    Some people also see a significant difference between "not to do" and "to not do" -- and some do in some situations but not all -- and some see no difference.
    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.

  3. Junior Member
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    #3

    Re: negative form of infinitive

    Thank you, Barb D. Do you mean it's a matter of whether you are a strict grammarian or not, and it's not more than that, don't you? As a matter of fact, there are only a few cases where "to not do" is used in the dictionary, which seems like a minor error.

  4. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: negative form of infinitive

    To use the phrase "strict grammarian" suggests that the "rule" is correct and that those who ignore it are somehow "lax" grammarians.

    I suggest the rule itself is groundless and there is no error whatsoever.
    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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