[Grammar] Not that I know of.

inase

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Hello,

"Not that I know of." is the phrase I hear Americans use when they want to say "no" and at the same time are not very much sure about the answer because of the lack of information. Or when they just don't want to say a straightforward "no."

In the following conversation, I wonder how the "not that I know of" part can be expanded to a full sentence.

"Did the dog bark at Kate when she tried to take him out for a walk?"
"Not that I know of. The dog likes the walk."

Using "not to my knowledge" which has a similar meaning, it can easily be paraphrased:

"(The dog did) not (bark at her) to my knowledge."

Below is my guess:

"(The dog did) not (bark at her from the fact/information) that I know of."

Inase
 

andrewg927

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Did the dog bark? It is not something that I know of.
 

inase

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Your explanation is understandable if we think the "that I know of" part is replaceable by "to my knowledge," but an adverbial "that" clause is not grammatical that I know of.

Could someone think of other expressions where "that" is used this way?

Inase
 

Barb_D

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Phaedrus

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Below is my guess:

"(The dog did) not (bark at her from the fact/information) that I know of."

I think that's a very good guess, Inase. The fruits of my research so far indicate that the "that I know of" part is indeed an adverbial clause. I can only find the construction in a few of the older grammars in my library. I do not find it in Quirk et al. (1985) or CGEL (2002), though it's possible I overlooked it while blazing hurriedly through the indexes.

I suspect that the "not" part could be analyzed, in modern generative terms, as "stripping," a.k.a. "bare argument ellipsis." This would work pretty much as you've displayed. After ellipsis, "not" (which is sentential-negation "not," a head on the clausal spine in generative grammar) would be all that remains of the full clause, "The dog did not bark at her."

Could someone think of other expressions where "that" is used this way?

I did the next best thing: I thought of some other people, who were able to think of some. :)

Otto Jespersen:"That is always used in that I know and similar expressions after a negative = 'so far as I know.' . . . Bunyan . . . I felt what guilt was, though never before, that I can remember. . . . I looked at nothing, that I know of, but I saw everything. . . . he took a book sometimes, but never read it that I saw. . . . I had no particular liking, that I could discover, for anything." (A Modern Grammar on Historical Principles, Vol. 3, pp. 160-1. Eknar Munksgaard: Copenhagen, 1909-49.)

Etsko Kruisinga: He analyses the construction as an adverbial clause of restriction. Here are some of his examples, quoted from literature: "He has paid all the bills, as far as I know"; "He is not here, that I can learn"; "No one knows anything about it, that I can find." (A Handbook of Present-Day English, Vol. 3, p. 403. P. Noordhoff: Groningen, 1932.)

Hendrik Poutsma: He too categorizes it as an adverbial clause of restriction. "That," he writes, "seems to occur only after a negative head-clause; thus in: Her brother took a book sometimes, but never read it, that I saw. Dick., Cop., Ch. IX 64b. Her mother had never named her own kindred to her before, that she could remember. Mrs. Ward. Marc., I, 112. 'Has Catherine come back yet?' - 'Not that I know of.' id., Rob. Elsm., 1, 14." (A Grammar of Late Modern English, Part 1, Second Half, p. 755. P. Noordhoff: Groningen, 1929.)
 

SoothingDave

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Not that there's anything wrong with that.
 

Tdol

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The dinner was great. Not that I ate anything.
 

inase

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Well, the search was interesting; not that I found anything.

Which of the following best expresses the speaker's feeling:

1 ..., but I didn't find anything.
2 ..., although I didn't find anything.
3 ...; it was interesting not because I found something.
4 ...; not because I found something interesting.

Inase
 

inase

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The dinner was great. Not that I ate anything.

Does this mean the dinner was great but I did not eat anything?

Inase
 

Tdol

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I could have enjoyed the evening without eating- the company, conversation, etc.
 

Phaedrus

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Which of the following best expresses the speaker's feeling:

1 ..., but I didn't find anything.
2 ..., although I didn't find anything.
3 ...; it was interesting not because I found something.
4 ...; not because I found something interesting.
None of them. "Not that I found anything" in "The search was interesting; not that I found anything" means "which is not to say that I found anything." Similarly, "not that I ate anything" in "The dinner was great. Not that I ate anything" means "which is not to say that I ate anything."

This thread is actually about two separate structures -- not that that's a bad thing (i.e., which is not to say that that's a bad thing). In phrases like "not that I found anything," "not that I ate anything," "not that that's a bad thing," the "that" after "not" is followed by a gap-less clause.

In phrases like "not that I know of," "not that I can recall," "not that I'm aware of," etc., on the other hand, the clause that follows the "that" after "not" does contain a gap. Notice that the following are incomplete clauses: *"I know of," *"I can recall," *"I'm aware of."

Syntactically, then, they are definitely different. Are they different semantically? Indeed they are. Notice that we can't paraphrase "not that I know of" as *"which is not to say that I know of." Moreover, "not" only precedes the "that" clause in this structure when ellipsis is also involved.

That is, in an example like the one in the opening post -- "Did the dog bark at Kate?" "Not that I know of." -- "Not" is elliptical for the negated sentence, and "that I know of" is added to it as an adverbial, viz: "The dog did not bark at Kate, that I know of."

My paraphrase of "that I know of": "If the dog did bark at Kate, I don't know of it."
 

andrewg927

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None of them. "Not that I found anything" in "The search was interesting; not that I found anything" means "which is not to say that I found anything." Similarly, "not that I ate anything" in "The dinner was great. Not that I ate anything" means "which is not to say that I ate anything."

I wonder if "which is not to say that I ate anything" is a roundabout way of saying "I did not eat anything." The reason I'm asking is because I think "the search was interesting, not that I found anything" can be replaced by "the search was interesting but I didn't find anything" or "although I didn't find anything, the search was interesting."
 

emsr2d2

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It's more like saying "but I want to/should point out that I didn't eat anything".
 

Phaedrus

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I wonder if "which is not to say that I ate anything" is a roundabout way of saying "I did not eat anything." The reason I'm asking is because I think "the search was interesting, not that I found anything" can be replaced by "the search was interesting but I didn't find anything" or "although I didn't find anything, the search was interesting."

The "not that" structure that Piscean cites in Huddleston & Pullum, which is different both syntactically and semantically from the "not that" structure that Inase originally asked about, forms a commentary on the preceding clause. Consider the following example:

I wonder who the DJ is tonight—not that I feel like going dancing.

The "not that" clause is not used to assert that the speaker does not want to go dancing—maybe he does—but rather to guard against his wondering who the DJ is being understood to imply that he wants to go dancing: "which is not to say / imply that . . . ."
 
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