Negative form + on purpose

Discussion in 'English Only' started by ilovejapan, May 5, 2014.

  1. ilovejapan Senior Member

    Japanese
    "She did not do it on purpose" means "she did it without her intention".
    Then, how does it go when mentioning "she did not do it with her intention"?
     
  2. Copyright

    Copyright Senior Member

    Penang
    American English
    I'm having difficulty figuring out the difference between these two ... perhaps because I've never heard them before:
    "she did it without her intention".
    "she did not do it with her intention"

    Opposites of your original sentence might be:
    She did not do it on purpose.
    She did it on purpose.
    She did not do it intentionally.
    She did it intentionally.
     
  3. ilovejapan Senior Member

    Japanese
    Copyright-san

    "With one's intention" could be wrong, as I did not know how to tell what I wanted to say. (^^;)
    Let me give you an example.

    She did not do it because she wanted to stump the teacher.
    (She was told to greet the teacher, but she did not do it as she disliked him.)

    How would you say the above sentence using "intentionally" or "on purpose"?
     
  4. Copyright

    Copyright Senior Member

    Penang
    American English
    Is this what you're thinking of?

    She intentionally did not greet the teacher, because she dislikes him.
    She did not greet the teacher on purpose, because she dislikes him.
     
  5. ilovejapan Senior Member

    Japanese
    Copyright-san

    So, "I didn't do it on purpose." has two meanings, doesn't it?

    1. I didn't do it on purpose! Please believe me. -> you did it in the end, but not intentionally (love affair, traffic accident, etc.).
    2. I did't do it on purpose, because I did not want to. -> you did not do it in the end (homework, housekeeping, etc.).
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2014
  6. Copyright

    Copyright Senior Member

    Penang
    American English
    I hadn't thought of it before, but that sounds right to me.
     
  7. EStjarn

    EStjarn Senior Member

    Spanish
    Correct as this might be, I find it a little confusing.

    "I didn't do it on purpose,..." will be read as in 1.

    "... because I did not want to," will prompt a reinterpretation of the first part, producing a glitch in the reading.

    "I didn't do it, because I did not want to," would get around that problem.

    "I purposely didn't do it, as I did not want to," would also get around it.
     
  8. ilovejapan Senior Member

    Japanese
    EStjan-san

    The example I posted on the thread may be not good.
    But there might be a situation people use "on purpose" or "intentionally" in a negative sentence.
    "It is not because she was away from the office, she was there and she just didn't answer the phone on purpose." (I don't know if this example is correct either.)

    Please let me know if my understanding is correct.

    Thank you for your advice.
    ilovejapan
     
  9. EStjarn

    EStjarn Senior Member

    Spanish
    ilovejapan-san

    My point is that it's not normal to use 'on purpose' that way. If it were normal, you would not be able to interpret correctly simple statements such as "I didn't do it on purpose," "He didn't put them there on purpose," or "They didn't disobey her on purpose," because you wouldn't be able to tell whether the acts were executed or not.
    Although context makes it rather clear here that she did not answer the phone, a comma would make it even clearer:

    It is not because she was away from the office; she was there and she just didn't answer the phone, on purpose.

    I'd accept the version with a comma without further ado.
     
  10. Edinburgher Senior Member

    Scotland
    German/English bilingual
    I agree with EStjarn.

    To me, "I didn't do it on purpose" has only one meaning, namely: "I did it, but not on purpose."
    It does not mean "I intentionally refrained from doing it."

    If you want the latter meaning, you need to write it differently. With the office example, perhaps as "She purposely didn't answer the phone", though that might be better with "deliberately".
     

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