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    #1

    not to do vs to not do

    Hi

    (A) How to not gain weight.
    (B) How not to gain weight.

    Any difference or rule?
    Can you tell me which one sounds more natural?

  1. BobK's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: not to do vs to not do

    What you're learning to do is avoid gaining weight. The opposite of 'How to gain weight' is ''How to avoid gaining weight'.

    That said, people do use 'How not to gain weight'. Personally, I don't think it makes sense, but as long as - in Real Life - it conveys a meaning, what I think doesn't really matter.

    b

  2. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: not to do vs to not do

    For me there is a difference between "not to" and "to not". I think "to not" is somewhat stronger and more purposeful.

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    #4

    Re: not to do vs to not do

    Quote Originally Posted by Takoyaki View Post

    Any ... rule?

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****

    Hello, Takoyaki:

    1. Most books give this "rule": The adverb "not" comes before the infinitive. (My example: I try not to eat too much ice cream.)

    2. Most books also say that many native speakers often break this rule: I try to not eat too much ice cream.

    a. Why do native speakers break this rule?

    i. As a teacher in this thread told you, it seems to emphasize the negativity.

    3. My respectful suggestion:

    a. While you are a learner, you might consider simply following the rule (especially on tests if you have a strict teacher).
    b. When you become fluent in the language, then you can let your ear be the guide.

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    #5

    Re: not to do vs to not do

    Quote Originally Posted by TheParser View Post
    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****

    Hello, Takoyaki:

    1. Most books give this "rule": The adverb "not" comes before the infinitive. (My example: I try not to eat too much ice cream.)

    2. Most books also say that many native speakers often break this rule: I try to not eat too much ice cream.

    a. Why do native speakers break this rule?

    i. As a teacher in this thread told you, it seems to emphasize the negativity.

    3. My respectful suggestion:

    a. While you are a learner, you might consider simply following the rule (especially on tests if you have a strict teacher).
    b. When you become fluent in the language, then you can let your ear be the guide.
    Exactly, rules are just for us ESL learners.

    I was also taught not to break the infinitive construction. For example, say "to walk slowly away" rather than "to slowly walk away." But in reality, people do put stuff in between the "to" and the verb, right?

    Oh, there is another rule that I have heard: never start a sentence with the word "but."

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    #6

    Re: not to do vs to not do

    Many of those rules have gone the way of the Model T Ford.

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    #7

    Re: not to do vs to not do

    Quote Originally Posted by oldbei View Post
    Exactly, rules are just for us ESL learners.
    Rules are often better thought of as guides or signs rather than inviolable laws. People do split infinitives and start sentences with and/but.

    Also, do you seriously think that an ESL learner starting out would benefit from an anything goes approach, or that they should be allowed to do anything we might find acceptable in a great writer's work? There might be a case for learning to walk before running.

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