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    #1

    I seem not to be able to figure it out.

    Hi. Where should "not" be placed in this sentence?
    I seem not to be able to figure it out.
    I seem to not be able to figure it out.

  1. Roman55's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: I seem not to be able to figure it out.

    I would use the first, but you will hear the second.

    More common would be, 'I don't seem to be able to figure it out.'
    I am not a teacher

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    #3

    Re: I seem not to be able to figure it out.

    You will find that some teachers are firmly convinced that it's wrong to ever split an infinitive as I've done in this sentence by inserting an adverb between to and split. There's no justification for the rule, but it was taught for generations and is dying only very slowly.

    What is true is that some sentences containing a split infinitive can be improved by removing it. I think your second sentence is one of them.
    I am not a teacher.

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    #4

    Re: I seem not to be able to figure it out.

    Any other suggestions?

  2. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: I seem not to be able to figure it out.

    I seem unable to figure it out.
    I am not a teacher.

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    #6

    Re: I seem not to be able to figure it out.

    I'd say "I can't seem to figure it out." This is a somewhat casual usage which can't be justified logically, but at least in AmE, it's commonly used.
    I am not a teacher.

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    #7

    Re: I seem not to be able to figure it out.

    I'm talking about the 'not' part. I mean not just in this sentence but any other, is it still preferable that I don't split the infinitive and use it like this?
    I asked him not to bring up that subject.

  3. Roman55's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: I seem not to be able to figure it out.

    I for one prefer it that way.
    I am not a teacher

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    #9

    Re: I seem not to be able to figure it out.

    Between these sentences:
    I seem not to be able to figure it out.
    I seem to not be able to figure it out.
    ... I much prefer the first. But neither is particularly elegant in my opinion.
    I am not a teacher.

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    #10

    Re: I seem not to be able to figure it out.

    Quote Originally Posted by GoesStation View Post
    There's no justification for the rule, but it was taught for generations and is dying only very slowly.
    Fortunately, it is on life-support and close to death.

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