not


not
not
1. Not is used to form negative statements and questions, and is attached both to individual words and to whole clauses by means of their verbs, normally requiring the use of an auxiliary verb such as do or have: We do not want to go / not usually / Not another one!. For the use of not with so-called ‘modal’ verbs such as can, may, and ‘semi-modals’ such as dare and need, see modal verb.
2. not with only.
Fowler (1926), in one of his more colourful images, wrote that ‘not only out of its place is like a tintack loose on the floor; it might have been most serviceable somewhere else, and is capable of giving acute pain where it is’. It is important to keep not only attached to the item to which it relates, so that in the sentence Katherine's marriage not only kept her away, but at least two of Mr. March's cousins (C. P. Snow), a stress on her will clarify the meaning in speech, but in writing the sentence needs to be rewritten as Katherine's marriage kept not only her away, but…When not only is followed by but also (or sometimes just but), the placing of the two elements again needs to be correctly balanced:

• Those who can not only read and count, but can operate data processing machines as well…are said to be ‘computerate’ —Times, 1981

(the second can is strictly redundant)

• On January 25, 1959, [Pope] John announced not only the convening of the Council but also a synod for the diocese of Rome —P. Hebblethwaite, 1984

• I am beginning to come to the opinion that not only is Dylan the best DJ on the planet right now, but also that this might even be the crowning finale to his career —Independent on Sunday, 2007

(better word order in the first part would be…the opinion not only that Dylan is…). In the following example, the positioning is so seriously awry as to be distracting:

At present, businessmen are allowed to pass along to customers not only their increases in costs, but also to tack on their standard profit margins —Time, 1972

(the correct order is…are allowed not only to pass along to customers…).
3. not with an infinitive.
The usual position of not when attached to a to-infinitive is before the to: He promised not to do it again / She tried not to think about it any more. Occasionally, and usually for a strong negative effect, not splits the infinitive, but this should be regarded as a literary device best avoided in normal writing and speech where the effect is more awkward:

• My advice to any woman who earns the reputation of being capable, is to not demonstrate her ability too much —Muriel Spark, 1988.

4. not in the type not ungrateful, not unnoticed, etc.
This device, known as meiosis, is very common in English and even Fowler (1926), although he disliked it, recognized that it was well established:

• The presence of one of the…vans in the area had not passed unnoticed by the alert crew of a Berkshire County Police wireless prowl car —N. Lucas, 1967.

Note that this type, with the second word positive in form and only negative in implication, is not the same as an explicit double negative, such as They didn't notice nothing, which is regarded as illiterate.
5. not repeated in a subordinate clause.
I shouldn't wonder if it didn't turn to snow. This type, in which not is wrongly placed in a subordinate clause as a mere echo of a negative in the main clause, should be avoided, although it is sometimes heard in informal speech. The correct form is I shouldn't wonder if it turned to snow. Sometimes the extra not results from the writer losing track of the grammar:

• It is hard not to conclude that there was not a cynical and calculating element to the performance —Independent, 2006

(read:…that there was a cynical and calculating element…).

Modern English usage. 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Not — not …   Medieval glossary

  • Not — Not …   Deutsch Wörterbuch

  • not — W1S1 [nɔt US na:t] adv [Date: 1300 1400; Origin: nought] 1.) used to make a word, statement, or question negative ▪ Most of the stores do not open until 10am. ▪ She s not a very nice person. ▪ You were wrong not to inform the police. ▪ Can we go… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • not — [ nat ] adverb *** 1. ) used for making negatives a ) used for making a sentence, expression, or word negative: He would not listen to anything she said. Barbara s not coming to the party. I don t feel sorry for her. Do not forget your promise.… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • not — not·ed; not·e·laea; not·er; not·ta·way; not·ting·ham; not·ting·ham·shire; not·tur·no; ochro·not·ic; per·not; pi·not; po·go·not·o·my; po·go·not·ro·phy; pyc·not·ic; ste·not·ic; te·not·o·mist; te·not·o·mize; te·not·o·my; zo·o·not·ic; NOT; not·geld;… …   English syllables

  • Not as We — Single by Alanis Morissette from the album Flavors of Entanglement Released …   Wikipedia

  • Not as We — «Not as We» Sencillo de Alanis Morissette del álbum Flavors of Entanglement Grabación 2007 Género(s) Piano Rock Duración 4:45 (Versión Album) 4:24 (Radio Edit) …   Wikipedia Español

  • Not — • Not die; , Nöte – ohne Not; zur Not; mit Müh und Not – wenn Not am Mann ist; seine [liebe] Not haben – Aber: nottun; Seefahrt tut not – Not sein, Not werden (veraltend für nötig sein, werden) – in Not, in Nöten sein – Aber: vonnöten sein – Not… …   Die deutsche Rechtschreibung

  • Not — Not, adv. [OE. not, noht, nought, naught, the same word as E. naught. See {Naught}.] A word used to express negation, prohibition, denial, or refusal. [1913 Webster] Not one word spake he more than was need. Chaucer. [1913 Webster] Thou shalt not …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Not Me — Single by Amy Pearson from the album Who I Am Released October 20, 2007 Format …   Wikipedia