... an appeal to the army <to not, not to> use too much force.

stenka25

Senior Member
South Korea, Han-gul
In Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, there's the following phrase.

• an appeal to the army to not use too much force..

What I want to ask is
in a grammar book
they said
we should put 'not' in front of 'to-v' to apply negative meaning to 'to-v'.
But in the above example, 'not' is between 'to' and 'use'.
Can you tell me HOW THIS HAPPENED?
 
  • bibliolept

    Senior Member
    AE, Español
    "I asked you not to drool while I entertain guests." is the same as "I asked you to not drool while I entertain guests."
    This "happened" because it's allowed to happen by the rules of grammar.
     

    CLM9999

    Senior Member
    English USA
    In Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, there's the following phrase.

    • an appeal to the army to not use too much force..

    What I want to ask is
    in a grammar book
    they said
    we should put 'not' in front of 'to-v' to apply negative meaning to 'to-v'.
    But in the above example, 'not' is between 'to' and 'use'.
    Can you tell me HOW THIS HAPPENED?
    And to echo what Biblio said: both forms are used all the time...
     

    GreenWhiteBlue

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    Can I tell you HOW THIS HAPPENED?

    It happened because we do not have grammar police running around the streets, looking to issue summonses to people who make grammatical mistakes.

    It happened because we have no grammar-enforcement grannies, waiting at home to rap your knuckles if you write a grammatical error at work.

    It happened because when people make grammatical errors, sirens do not go off, computers do not explode, and the fingers that typed the mistake do not instantly fall off the writer's hands.

    In other words, it happened the same way that all mistakes happen.
     

    stenka25

    Senior Member
    South Korea, Han-gul
    Thanks for your interesting post,
    I think what you mean to say is even though the practice of putting 'not' between 'to' and 'infinitive' is not correct in grammatical sense mistakes abound.

    So it can't be helped

    Is that right?
     

    stenka25

    Senior Member
    South Korea, Han-gul
    Right GreenWhiteBlue.

    Thanks.
    (In fact in Korea English test takes up a important place in whatever test.

    And tricky English grammer questions are annoying almost every student.

    That's why I put up the post.

    And this site is very useful to me.

    Thanks again. GreenWhiteBlue.
     

    mplsray

    Senior Member
    Right GreenWhiteBlue.

    Thanks.
    (In fact in Korea English test takes up a important place in whatever test.

    And tricky English grammer questions are annoying almost every student.

    That's why I put up the post.

    And this site is very useful to me.

    Thanks again. GreenWhiteBlue.
    You should find out what the test requires and follow that when taking the test, no matter how absurd it might be when discussing actual English usage.

    The prohibition against putting words between to and a following infinitive--commonly referred to as a split infinitive--was a silly 17th-century rule based upon Latin grammar, in which the infinitive was a single word, and thus could not be split. Often in English it sounds best to keep to next to the infinitive, but there are times when it is best to "split" the infinitive and times when it really makes no difference, "not to [infinitive]" and "to not [infinitive]" being one such occasion when it makes no difference.
     

    se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I don't think this is a matter of prescriptive grammar: it is a matter of idiom. I told him not to stand in the puddle is idiomatic English I told him to not stand in the puddle is not.
     

    coiffe

    Senior Member
    USA
    American English
    You should find out what the test requires and follow that when taking the test, no matter how absurd it might be when discussing actual English usage.

    The prohibition against putting words between to and a following infinitive--commonly referred to as a split infinitive--was a silly 17th-century rule based upon Latin grammar, in which the infinitive was a single word, and thus could not be split. Often in English it sounds best to keep to next to the infinitive, but there are times when it is best to "split" the infinitive and times when it really makes no difference, "not to [infinitive]" and "to not [infinitive]" being one such occasion when it makes no difference.
    Interesting history. It's true there's ultimately no difference between the two constructions, but there is a slight difference in emphasis. To not do something is actually a kind of an active "to do" construction, whereas "not to do" something seems inactive by comparison. An appeal "not to do something" is like an appeal to remain quiescent. Whereas an appeal "to not do something" seems like an appeal for a certain kind of action (even though it isn't) -- at the very least, the action of making a conscious choice not to do something.

    At this late hour, this is starting to sound like jibberish. I hope that subtle point was clear. :cool:
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    In Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, there's the following phrase.

    • an appeal to the army to not use too much force..

    What I want to ask is
    in a grammar book
    they said
    we should put 'not' in front of 'to-v' to apply negative meaning to 'to-v'.
    But in the above example, 'not' is between 'to' and 'use'.
    Can you tell me HOW THIS HAPPENED?
    Hi Stenka,

    You will know that to use is an infinitive and that there are people who say you shouldn't split an infinitive (i.e. put anything between the to and use). It's quite a favourite subject here, and here's a thread on it you may find helpful: http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=21709
     

    bibliolept

    Senior Member
    AE, Español
    Stenka, don't think of this as an unfortunate cause for puzzlement; think of is as further proof that languages can be wonderfully complex and subtle, granting the freedom to do more than communicate specific meaning in solely formulaic manners.
     

    mplsray

    Senior Member
    I don't think this is a matter of prescriptive grammar: it is a matter of idiom. I told him not to stand in the puddle is idiomatic English I told him to not stand in the puddle is not.
    A Google search indicates that there was an article published in the year 2000 in the journal American Speech by a person named Fitzmaurice who "argued that the construction originating in the spoken media has now so spread that it may be conventionalized as unmarked" (the quote is taken from the abstract of another article dealing with the subject). If the Fitzmaurice article is available on the Internet, I presume one would have to pay for it, but I mention it here as a peer-reviewed source which disputes your belief that the to not [infinitive] form is unidiomatic.
     

    se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    A Google search indicates that there was an article published in the year 2000 in the journal American Speech by a person named Fitzmaurice who "argued that the construction originating in the spoken media has now so spread that it may be conventionalized as unmarked" (the quote is taken from the abstract of another article dealing with the subject). If the Fitzmaurice article is available on the Internet, I presume one would have to pay for it, but I mention it here as a peer-reviewed source which disputes your belief that the to not [infinitive] form is unidiomatic.
    I didn't mean that no split infinitive ever sounds natural. I meant that it sounds more natural to put not before to in short phrases like: [minor child abuse followed by] I told you not to stand in that puddle!, and I think the same goes for an appeal to the army not to use too much force. Does the Journal of American Speech ever go down to Walmart on Saturday mornings to check how English is really spoken?
     

    mplsray

    Senior Member
    I didn't mean that no split infinitive ever sounds natural. I meant that it sounds more natural to put not before to in short phrases like: [minor child abuse followed by] I told you not to stand in that puddle!, and I think the same goes for an appeal to the army not to use too much force. Does the Journal of American Speech ever go down to Walmart on Saturday mornings to check how English is really spoken?
    The very quote which I gave in my reply indicated that the conclusion was based upon how the construction to not [infinitive] was actually used.

    Just to make clear: The article was not about the split infinitive in general, but specifically about the to not [infinitive] construction.
     

    liliput

    Senior Member
    U.K. English
    I agree with se16teddy (#10) in that "not to do" is more idiomatic (at least in BE), as well as being more widely accepted grammatically. The negative of the infinitive is "not to + verb", most famously seen in Hamlet: "To be or not to be...".
    I also agree with coiffre (#11) that when "to not do" is used, the sentence has a slightly different meaning.
     
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