... ought <to not, not to> mustn't ...

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Helkost, Mar 23, 2006.

  1. Helkost Junior Member

    Italy - Italian
    I searched on the web and found someone saying "ought to not", and someone else saying "ought not to". I would like to know which form is the right one.

    Also, in a sentence like this:

    you (ought to not) (mustn't) carry arms without permission

    which form should I use? "ought to not", or "mustn't"?

    unfortunately the sentence isn't really precise, it was much more referred to a law context, but I can't remember precise words.

    thanks in advance for your help

    Helkost
     
  2. curon Senior Member

    Cardiff, UK
    Wales (UK) Welsh
    ought to not is wrong
    ought not is right

    you could use "shouldn't" or "not supposed" to or "not allowed to" to get round the problem, but "ought not to" and "mustn't" are both fine
     
  3. moodywop Banned

    Southern Italy
    Italian - Italy
    I think this question really belongs in the English Only forum, where you will also receive more replies. I've done a quick search and I don't think ought not to has been discussed before.

    I'm not a native speaker but I think that ought not to is the correct form.

    According to Fowler's and CGEL the use of to is optional in "informal non-assertive contexts": They ought not (to) do that sort of thing. Fowler's adds that oughtn't to and shouldn't sound more natural in this sentence.
    Apparently the negative contracted form(oughtn't) is mainly BE.
     
  4. Helkost Junior Member

    Italy - Italian
    ok, I'll post it in the only english forum too, then.

    really, it was a test with mutiple answers, and the "ought to not" and "mustn't" seemed the right ones to me. Though, I remembered there was a rule in english, about law and oblige contexts, where you should use a modal verb (and don't remember which one :p) rather than any other.

    I'll post everything on the english forum to getg more help. Thanks for your replies.

    Helkost
     
  5. Helkost Junior Member

    Italy - Italian
    I searched on the web and found someone saying "ought to not", and someone else saying "ought not to". I would like to know which form is the right one.

    Also, in a sentence like this:

    you (ought to not) (mustn't) carry arms without permission


    which form should I use? "ought to not", or "mustn't"?

    unfortunately the sentence isn't really precise, it was much more referred to a law context, but I can't remember precise words.

    really, it was a test with mutiple answers, and the "ought to not" and "mustn't" seemed the right ones to me. Though, I remembered there was a rule in english, about law and oblige contexts, where you should use a modal verb (and don't remember which one :p) rather than any other.

    thanks in advance for your help

    Helkost
     
  6. la reine victoria Senior Member

    Hello Helkost,

    You ought not to carry arms without permission.:tick:

    You mustn't (must not) carry arms without permission.:tick:

    'Ought not to' is the correct usage. 'Ought to not' is very archaic and rare.




    LRV

    Edit: See here for further help.
     
  7. Helkost Junior Member

    Italy - Italian
    thanks for your reply LRV.

    So, both "mustn't" and "ought not to" are right in that sentence, but what is the difference between the two verbs usages?
     
  8. mateitop

    mateitop Senior Member

    UK, English
    I don't know if I agree: "Ought not to carry" sounds strange. I would say "Ought not carry".

    Perhaps I am wrong.
     
  9. maxiogee Senior Member

    imithe
    Welcome to the club for wrong-minded people, in that case. While I would have no trouble with "you ought to carry", I would cringe to hear "you ought not to carry".
     
  10. cyanista

    cyanista законодательница мод

    NRW
    Belarusian/Russian
  11. la reine victoria Senior Member


    Why is that Tony? If you are happy with 'you ought to carry' then surely you should be comfortable with the negative form, 'you ought not to carry'. All positives have a negative.

    You ought to behave well at the dinner party.

    You ought not to misbehave at the dinner party.

    Admittedly these terms are very archaic and I would substitute 'must' and 'mustn't' in their place.

    You must behave well at the dinner party. Don't throw bread rolls at your host.

    You mustn't misbehave at the dinner party. Don't throw bread rolls at your host.


    LRV
     
  12. maxiogee Senior Member

    imithe
    Just as you modified the "behave well" to "misbehave" for the negative, so I would allow the "ought not" to be the modification of "ought to".


    The square root of 1:D
     
  13. COLsass

    COLsass Senior Member

    This is kind of a question about that rule To Not Split Infinitives that's going out of fashion.

    I organized the party to meet people more quickly.
    I organized the party to more quickly meet people.

    Bad example I know, but splitting the infinitive used to be wrong wrong wrong and now it's fine and barely even mentioned.

    I ought to not eat carrots.
    I ought not to eat carrots.

    Split infinitive, alive and well.
     
  14. tamsin Senior Member

    England
    English, UK
    Perhaps it's different in america, but the phrases 'i ought to not eat carrots' and the ironic 'To Not Split Infinitives' sound awkward to me. I generally wouldn't notice split infinitives in spoken English, but it would annoy me in a book or an essay.
     
  15. Kelly B

    Kelly B Senior Member

    USA English
    I'm not sure I should even speak up here, because I think ought not is so rarely used in the US that you ought not use it.
    Perhaps you noticed that I omitted the to. It sounds just as odd to me as it would in this sentence:
    You should not use it.
    Does BE insist on the presence of to with ought not + infinitive?

    Edit: Thinking about it some more, the positive ought definitely does, even to an American.
    You ought to use.... you ought use....

    So perhaps the to really ought to be there in the negative as well.

    Never mind. You ought to write like an American and stick with should not.;)
     
  16. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    OED examples are all ought not to.
    British National Corpus examples are all ought not to, no instances of ought to not.

    There is, on the other hand, a website teaching English to non-natives that unequivocally states:
    Negative:
    I ought to not go
    You ought to not go
    etc

    I think it is either a wicked non-native plot to pollute English, or more likely, a wicked native plot to ensure that non-native speakers always sound non-native.

    As for general Google results, ought to not (46,600) is outnumbered about 100:1.
     
  17. river Senior Member

    U.S. English
    The negative is ought not to or oughtn't to. (Burchfield) You oughtn't to say "you ought to not go."
     
  18. roxcyn

    roxcyn Senior Member

    USA
    American English [AmE]
    you (ought to not) (mustn't) carry arms without permission

    which form should I use? "ought to not", or "mustn't"?


    I use more "should" or "shouldn't" instead of "ought", but it seems like "you ought to....." (Sounds like a dialect of the South in USA or BE).

    Again I agree with River, I would you ought not (to), then again Ought to not, sounds a little strange to me, but I could see someone in Southern USA use it in a conversation.
     
  19. curon Senior Member

    Cardiff, UK
    Wales (UK) Welsh
    Ah...I feel responsible for all this.
    I erroneously said that "ought not to" was right in a previous post. It is, as many of you have said...wrong. Apologies to all. Perhaps there is something to all this "careful wording" stuff after all..
     
  20. la reine victoria Senior Member


    Hi Curon and all,

    'Ought not to' is perfectly correct, as verified by the great Panjandrum with his OED and British National Corpus.

    'Ought to not' is incorrect but still in use.

    You ought not to have to apologise!


    LRV
     
  21. curon Senior Member

    Cardiff, UK
    Wales (UK) Welsh
    I am not convinced. Ought not to sounds bearable with "to have " or to be" but with any other verb I second those who have said that the "to" sounds very strange.
    Take a look here
    http://www.englishpage.com/modals/oughtto.html
     
  22. la reine victoria Senior Member


    I'm sticking with the revered Panjandrum and his dictionaries; also with my own instinct.

    Ought not to can go with any verb. By adding the 'to' you are simply using the infinitive.

    You ought not to pick your nose in public. You ought not pick sounds totally wrong to me.

    You ought not to shout like that. You ought not shout - likewise wrong to my ear.

    Google gives 84,200,000 hits for 'ought not to'. I chose a random example from the Bible -

    I suppose we'll have to agree to differ.


    LRV
     
  23. CAMullen Senior Member

    Amesbury
    US, English
    Let me tell you - it isn't just the negative contracted form, but the entire negative form that is mainly BE. In AE, "shouldn't" is the word of choice.
     
  24. COLsass

    COLsass Senior Member

    I just realized something.

    Even though I hardly ever say ought since it is more British, when I do say it I only ever say "outta" which means the not has to happen afterward in my mind.

    You outta shut up, kid, if you know what's could for you.

    You outta never show your face around here again.

    You outta not talk to him that way.

    I think I've found the origins for my prefernece of "ought to not."
     
  25. cirrus

    cirrus Senior Member

    Warwick
    UK English
    Another bit of grist to the mill. I am an ought not to man myself. I ought not to drink too much: it makes me stumble about like a twit.

    There is a shade between must not and ought not - must not means you definitely mustn't eg you mustn't press that switch otherwise the emergency door will open, you mustn't go on that path there aren't mines there (a mine field).

    You ought not to doesn't have the same sense of compulsion. You ought not to smoke (but you probably will regardless). You ought not to park on the double yellow lines with your hazard lights flashing as you jump out to get some cash from the ATM (and again you probably will).
     
  26. maxiogee Senior Member

    imithe
    There wouldn't be a "not" in there, unless you want the "kid" to keep talking, and it doesn't sound like you do.



    And you'll get cirrusis of deliver! ;) :) :eek: (Sorry, I ought not to have given in to the temptation!
     
  27. royalmind New Member

    American English
    Every language has its phases in time ( evolution ;) ), that's why:

    1. in positive sentences you can use:
    a) ought to
    b) oughta (typical what we do in US ;)

    Of course "should" always stays much more popular for most of people.

    2. in negative sentences you can use:
    a) ought not to (you have to remember that "ought to" expresses modality but "to" refers to the following verb in infinitive)
    b) ought not (more and more often we simply lose "to" in negative sentences)
    c) oughtn't (as above)
    ¨
    That's it. "Ought to not" was (and is) possible but in XXI century and standard sentences rather not ;) - sounds a bit weird and of course you can use it but generally when you're a writer or an actor and you play with language - then everything's possible :)
     

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