Changing negative?

Hi teachers!!

Last minute i have read and wonderred the the style of changing negative structure.

We don’t believe it’ll work.
We do believe it won’t work.

Is there any different between the two?



This one sounds normal.

This sounds like an uneducated person from the moutains of the southern US, whose dialect is two or three centuries out of date. It is a very odd sentence.

Sentences can be constructed in which some people detect a difference, but basically they are the same. The first is much the most common, and is a result of transfer of negation to the main clause, a normal process with verbs like think and believe.

Dear Mister Micawber

Is it an idiom or just a fixed expression? Would you agree:

This design is much the most common these days…?

I don’t think native speakers say “much the most”. One of the common ways to convey that meaning is “by far the most”. This design is by far the most common these days.

You have a talent for picking up on typos, Tom. :wink: :lol:


Sorry folks, but this native speaker has been saying this for the past several decades.


William H. Ashley (1778-1838)

Edmund Burke (1729-1797)

I was selecting some of the more elegant examples off the internet, Jamie-- and I could also have included Thomas Malthus (1766-1834) and A.R. Wallace (1823-1913) in the noble lineage of this phrase.

And don’t forget:

Mister Micawber (1943 - )

We can still get Ms Google to pull up several thousand pages of more current references, including:

The University of Canberra (‘There are some practical techniques, such as preparing for the lecture ahead of time, taking notes and following up on your notes after the lecture which can help you to get much the most out of your lectures.’)

The Manchester Guardian (‘Why is it that much the most popular biography of Mrs Gandhi was by Katherine Frank’)

The British Institute of Economic Affairs (‘Much the most arresting feature of retirement homes are cruise ships that plough the oceans with cargoes of retired accountants and solicitors’)

– so the phrase is still alive and kicking, and the statement ('I don’t think native speakers say "much the most ') remains less than accurate without some qualification.

Tom should know that in North America, if he says much the most, it will be corrected as a mistake. It is completely unfamiliar here.

MM, at first I thought you must be one of those guys who finds an archaic expression in old literature, gets a kick out of it, and uses it in a vain attempt to revive it. Your citations from newspapers demonstrate that I was wrong, but I still don’t think the vast majority of Americans or Canadians would recognize that phrase as native English.


Just an additional comment on this much the + superlative construction. Some conversational examples I know of are:

That’s much the best thing to do …

That’s much the easiest thing to do …


Hi alan,
So it is clear from much the + superlative construction that “much the most common” is correct; at least in UK. right!!

Hey teachers!!

I would me please if you can tell me only one word whether the both sentences are the [color=red]same or not. Can I use it at the present time of the two?

We don’t believe it’ll work.
We do believe it won’t work.



We don’t believe it’ll work.” is a normal and usual way to simply express the opinion that something will not work.

In my view, you should say “We do believe it won’t work.only if you feel there is some special reason to emphasize the fact that you have an opinion. Using the word “do” puts a special focus on the word “believe”. Therefore, this sentence focuses on the fact that you have a belief and not on what the belief is. This sentence construction would be much more rarely used than your first sentence.

So, for the above reasons, no, the sentences are not the same and should not be seen as freely interchangeable.