Student or Learner
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."
Then I searched the Corpus of American English (COCA), and got the following results:
- You ought not smoke so much.
- She ought not take such risks while skiing.
- They ought not carry so much cash while traveling.
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'?
Last edited by joham; 19-Apr-2009 at 08:27.
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.
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.