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    #1

    "it reminded him not of"

    Hello everyone,

    I have just come across a grammatical structure I am quite unsure about.

    “It reminded him not of the situation in his home country, but of...”

    What kind of grammatical structure is this – “reminded him not of” I quite like it, but is it grammatical? Shouldn’t there be the auxiliary verb did?

    Thank you very much!

  1. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: "it reminded him not of"

    It reminds me of something. It doesn't remind me of my home country but it does remind me of Spain, where I lived for two years.

    This can be reworded as the original was: "It reminds me not of my home country but of Spain, where I lived in for two years".

    It's a perfectly grammatical construction but I don't recommend that you use it too often. It can sound overdone.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #3

    Re: "it reminded him not of"

    Thank you very much for your explanation. I suppose it was perhaps used mainly in the old English? I was told by a native speaker that, in written texts, I should try to avoid as much negative structures as possible, so I suppose this is one of the ways how to avoid it. Can I just ask under what entry I could find it in grammar books?
    Last edited by Rover_KE; 25-Aug-2014 at 13:00. Reason: Deleting unnecessary quote.

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    #4

    Re: "it reminded him not of"

    It's used often enough in modern English, Isobela.

    Forget what you were told about 'avoiding negative structures as much as possible'.

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    #5

    Re: "it reminded him not of"

    Okay, thank you, Rover_KE. I know I have seen this structure before in some books. I will use it - moderately. Thank you for claryfing this for me.

  2. BobK's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: "it reminded him not of"

    I think what that teacher may have meant was that too many negatives can reduce clarity - 'I want to go' is clearer than 'It could not be said that I am disinclined to go' (if what you mean is just 'I want to go'). There is a place for such double negatives, but use them, as you say, 'moderately'.

    b

    I have just thought that your 'reminded him not' is not the same as the centuries-old tendency to put the negative after the verb: 'Do it not' rather than 'Don't do it'. This was colloquial in English before the performative 'do' was adopted.

    But the usage you cite is not dated in that way; it's perfectly grammatical and current, as Ems said.
    Last edited by BobK; 26-Aug-2014 at 12:08. Reason: PS added

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