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  1. #1

    Question May be not or May not be?

    What is the difference between "may be not" and "may not be" ?

    Example:
    - She may be not a student.
    - She may not be a student.
    ==> Do the two sentences have the same meaning?

  2. Casiopea's Avatar

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    #2

    Re: May be not or May not be?

    [1] She may be not a student, ...
    Meaning => True, she is not a student, she's a teacher, but she works just as hard as a student. She studies English at home on her own time.

    [2] She may not be a student.
    Meaning => There is a possibility that she is not a student.


    Modal may, like modal must, is ambiguous between epistemic and deontic modality:

    Deontic modality
    Ex: She may go to school.
    => permission; e.g., she is allowed to go.

    Negated
    Ex: She may not go to school.
    => permission to go to school is denied.
    Epistempic modality
    Ex: She may be at school.
    => possibility;e.g., It is possible that she is at school.

    Negated
    Ex: She may not be at school.
    => There's a possibility that she is not at school.

    Ex: She may be not at school, but ...
    => True, she is not at school, she's at home, but she's at home studying right now as if she were in school.
    Does that help?

  3. engee30's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: May be not or May not be?

    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea View Post
    [1]
    Negated
    Ex: She may not be at school.
    => There's a possibility that she is not at school.
    That sentence can also be expressed like this:
    Maybe she is not at school.

    ___________________________
    NOTE:
    Bear in mind I'm not a teacher!

  4. #4

    Re: May be not or May not be?

    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea View Post
    [1] She may be not a student, ...
    Meaning => True, she is not a student, she's a teacher, but she works just as hard as a student. She studies English at home on her own time.

    [2] She may not be a student.
    Meaning => There is a possibility that she is not a student.


    Modal may, like modal must, is ambiguous between epistemic and deontic modality:

    Deontic modality

    Ex: She may go to school.

    => permission; e.g., she is allowed to go.


    Negated

    Ex: She may not go to school.

    => permission to go to school is denied.

    Epistempic modality

    Ex: She may be at school.

    => possibility;e.g., It is possible that she is at school.


    Negated

    Ex: She may not be at school.

    => There's a possibility that she is not at school.


    Ex: She may be not at school, but ...

    => True, she is not at school, she's at home, but she's at home studying right now as if she were in school.
    Does that help?
    Yeah, I've got it! Thanks.

  5. Casiopea's Avatar

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    #5

    Re: May be not or May not be?

    You're most welcome.

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    #6

    Re: May be not or May not be?

    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea View Post
    Ex: She may not go to school.
    => permission to go to school is denied.
    What if want to say that she was granted a permission not to go to school? I.e. deny go instead of may.

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    #7

    Re: May be not or May not be?

    Quote Originally Posted by mmasny View Post
    What if I want to say that she was granted a permission to not go to school? Is this what you mean?
    I.e. deny go instead of may. I don't know what you mean here..
    If so, you can say the following sentences.

    1...She doesn't have to go to school. (This is the most common and simple way to say it.)

    2...She (has permission)(is allowed) to (skip)(not go to) school. (also correct)


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    #8

    Re: May be not or May not be?

    Quote Originally Posted by engee30 View Post
    That sentence can also be expressed like this:
    Maybe she is not at school.

    ___________________________
    NOTE:
    Bear in mind I'm not a teacher!
    No, it can't. Casi's sentence expresses concession; yours a possibility.

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    #9

    Re: May be not or May not be?

    Quote Originally Posted by vv0510_vn View Post
    What is the difference between "may be not" and "may not be" ?

    Example:
    - She may be not a student.
    - She may not be a student.
    ==> Do the two sentences have the same meaning?
    The first is not acceptable except as part of a sentence continuing 'but a(n)...', as in

    She may be, not a teacher, but an educational adviser.

    (commas are optional).

    The second is the standard word order and would naturally be understood to have an epistemic sense (i.e. meaning 'it is possible that she is not...')

    A deontic sense is highly unlikely here, but would be possible with a different verb, e.g.

    She may not become a teacher.


    could, depending on sense/context, mean 'she is not permitted to...'

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    #10

    Re: May be not or May not be?

    @2006
    'to not go' is right? Not 'not to go'? That's a bit confusing. A saw this form only once in a dictionary and never in speech. I thought denying an infinitive is always done by adding 'not' before 'to'. Even once, when I went to school yet, I asked my teacher about it (having seen that above mentioned dictionary entry) and he was confused too. So where and when should I put 'not' when I want to deny an infinitive?

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