Not (I want you not to do [to not do] that)

Hi teachers, :smiley:

I want you not to do that.
i want you to not do that.

Are these two sentences correct? If so, do they mean the same? If not, could you please explain why?


Hi Rosalisa,

Your two sentences:

sound very strange to me and also very clumsy. Technically they could just about be passed as acceptable since the meaning can be construed. Having said that I would suggest something much simpler:

I don’t want you to do that.


Thank you, Alan. So they are acceptable but sound very strange. I wanted to know if “not” can be used in those two ways… :smiley:

Thanks. :smiley:

Hi Rosalisa

You could look at your two sentences this way:

The usage would not be “acceptable” or natural in the vast majority of situations.

However, in a very specific context where you need/want to put heavy stress on the word not (a correction or a contradiction possibly), then such sentences might be used.



Just to make certain:

how not to <verb>
hope to not be …

are in usage

Hi Tamara,

Well yes you could just about say: We hope to not be late but it sounds wacky to me.


‘bee or not-too-bee’ :slight_smile:

Thanks Alan.
Good morning to all! :slight_smile: