He thinks it's not easy / doesn't think it's easy...

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eratea

Senior Member
chinese
I think it's easy for me make friends. The negative form of the sentece should be I don't think it's easy for me to make friends. But if I change the subject into she, he, they or a specific person like Tom. The statement is still "Tom/He thinks it's easy for him to make friends." My questions here is what about the negative form of the sentence. Is it should be "Tom or He thinks it's not easy for him to make friends." or "Tom/He doesn't think it's easy for him to make friends." ?
Thanks.
 
  • pob14

    Senior Member
    American English
    The American pundit Edwin Newman, who often wrote about language, absolutely hated the "I don't think . . . " construction, saying that people do think and we shouldn't deny it. :)

    I wouldn't go that far. I think either version works.

    I think it's not easy . . .
    I don't think it's easy . . .
    Tom thinks it's not easy . . .
    Tom doesn't think it's easy . . .

    You could probably find a tiny shade of difference in meaning there if you wanted to, but to me they are the same.
     

    Cenzontle

    Senior Member
    English, U.S.
    This is cross-posted with pob14 and says practically the same thing.
    It doesn't matter whether the subject is "I", "he", "she", "they", or "Tom": in every case you have two options.
    You can negate "think" ("I don't think it's easy...", "She doesn't think it's easy...", etc.),
    or you can negate the other verb ("I think it's not easy...", "She thinks it's not easy...", etc.).
     
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