Darrick got out this morning, did he not/didn't he

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The Lord of Gluttony

Senior Member

When we have substituted "didn't he" for "did he not", what would be the difference in meaning?

Original sentence:
Darrick got out this morning, did he not?

I heard this sentence in the film American History X, while a teacher was asking his student whether the student's brother got out of the prison.

Thank you very much.
  • Biffo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    The meaning is exactly the same. However "Did he not?" is very formal and may reflect the way this teacher likes to talk. Alternatively he may be speaking like that in order to add some nuance. Without seeing the film it is difficult to tell.

    1. Some people do not like to use 'don't', 'he'd' and similar abbreviations. They prefer each word to be pronounced and/or written separately.
    2. If we directly tried to abbreviate "Did he not?" we would get "Did hen't?" which sounds horrible. Therefore the word order is notionally changed to "Did not he?" which can be abbreviated to "Didn't he?"

    I hope that was clear! :)
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