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    #1

    ought not do sth

    I was learning grammar on Englishpage.com (Modal verb tutorial) when I noticed that the following content isn't given in any grammar book I've read. I felt very surprised:

    ENGLISH PAGE - Ought to
    Notice "Ought not"
    Remember that "ought to" loses the "to" in the negative. Instead of "ought not to," we say "ought not." "Ought not" is more commonly used in British English. Americans prefer "should not."

    Examples:
    • You ought not smoke so much.
    • She ought not take such risks while skiing.
    • They ought not carry so much cash while traveling.
    Then I searched the Corpus of American English (COCA), and got the following results:
    ought not to... (617 results)
    ought not do sth (232 results)

    What do you native speakers think of the usage of 'ought not do sth'?
    Many thanks.
    Last edited by joham; 19-Apr-2009 at 08:27.

  1. engee30's Avatar
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    #2

    Unhappy Re: ought not do sth

    Quote Originally Posted by joham View Post
    I was learning grammar on Englishpage.com (Modal verb tutorial) when I noticed that the following content isn't given in any grammar book I've read. I felt very surprised:

    ENGLISH PAGE - Ought to
    Notice "Ought not"
    Remember that "ought to" loses the "to" in the negative. Instead of "ought not to," we say "ought not." "Ought not" is more commonly used in British English. Americans prefer "should not."
    Examples:
    • You ought not smoke so much.
    • She ought not take such risks while skiing.
    • They ought not carry so much cash while traveling.

    Then I searched the Corpus of American English (COCA), and got the following results:
    ought not to... (617 results)
    ought not do sth (228 results)

    What do you native speakers think of the usage of 'ought not do sth'?
    Many thanks.
    Oh dear! That seems to be a serious mistake by them, I'm afraid to say.

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    #3

    Re: ought not do sth

    It's quite difficult to say the negative when contracted to 'oughtn't to' and you will hear people drop it in speech in British English. However, that rule doesn't work for me- it may be perfectly acceptable to drop it in AmE but it is an error in BrE. Let's see where other regional variants stand.

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    #4

    Re: ought not do sth

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    It's quite difficult to say the negative when contracted to 'oughtn't to' and you will hear people drop it in speech in British English. However, that rule doesn't work for me- it may be perfectly acceptable to drop it in AmE but it is an error in BrE. Let's see where other regional variants stand.
    Hi, Tdol. Thanks for your reply. And I read from the book of EXPLORING GRAMMAR IN CONTEXT published by Cambridge this sentence:
    It didn't ought to happen.

    Do British speakers often use this construction?

    Thanks again.

  2. engee30's Avatar
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    #5

    Post Re: ought not do sth

    I reckon this construction derives from the fact that ought to is actually considered a semi-modal verb, and semi-modal verbs admit the use of operators like do.

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