not/without giving up

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Latino24

Senior Member
Español mexicano
When it comes to dialogues, which form is it right to use: NOT or WITHOUT? Or are they both correct? My guess is that they convey different nuances, but at the end of the day, they mean almost the same. Or should I use only one?

Examples:

"Let's keep trying!" Mary commanded, without giving up.
"Let's keep trying!" Mary commanded, not giving up.

"It's all right, I guess..." she replied, without understanding what was really happening.
"It's all right, I guess..." she replied, not understanding what was really happening.

As always, thank you for your answers and explanations.
 
  • Cenzontle

    Senior Member
    English, U.S.
    Very interesting question.
    Let's call the sentences 1, 2, 3, and 4.
    In 3 and 4, my intuition is that 3 implies "in spite of not understanding", while 4 implies "because she didn't understand".
    I can't back this idea with authority. See what others say.
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    Without

    The two "without" sentences are not okay. I would not use "without" this way. "Without" has a meaning similar to "but", but with more information.

    Mary did A, without doing B. means Mary did A, but did not do B, even though people that do A usually also do B.

    That is not what you mean, so these are not good uses of "without".

    Not

    Both sentences make two independent statements (two separate ideas):

    Mary commanded "text" to someone.
    Mary was not giving up.

    She replied "text" to someone.
    She did not understand what was really happening.

    In each example, the word not simply makes the second statement negative. It is correct, but the "not" has no connection to the first statement. So these sentence are not examples of "using not with dialogues".
     

    Cenzontle

    Senior Member
    English, U.S.
    I had trouble with the first "without" sentence (#1), but not the second one (#3).
    With "It's all right, I guess" she made a judgment. People who make judgments usually understand what they're talking about.
    She made a judgment, but she didn't know what she was talking about.
     

    Latino24

    Senior Member
    Español mexicano
    Without

    The two "without" sentences are not okay. I would not use "without" this way. "Without" has a meaning similar to "but", but with more information.

    Mary did A, without doing B. means Mary did A, but did not do B, even though people that do A usually also do B.

    That is not what you mean, so these are not good uses of "without".

    Not

    Both sentences make two independent statements (two separate ideas):

    Mary commanded "text" to someone.
    Mary was not giving up.

    She replied "text" to someone.
    She did not understand what was really happening.

    In each example, the word not simply makes the second statement negative. It is correct, but the "not" has no connection to the first statement. So these sentence are not examples of "using not with dialogues".

    Then what would be the right way to say it?

    Mary wanted to keep trying (whatever), and Mary didn't want to give up (trying). That's what I mean.

    "Let's keep trying!" she commanded, without giving up. (Probably because the rest of the team had given up).
    Or:
    "Let's keep trying!" she commanded, not giving up. (She commanded with enthusiasm because she wasn't giving up).

    I honestly don't understand when you say that the "not" has no connection to the first statement. For me, they are part of the same sentence/idea: "Without giving up, she commanded: 'Let's keep trying!' "

    And also, I don't understand why these sentences are not examples of "using not with dialogues."

    Could you provide good examples or the right way to say the sentences I wrote?

    Thank you.
     

    Cenzontle

    Senior Member
    English, U.S.
    I like dojibear's insight,
    "Without" has a meaning similar to "but"
    Said another way, "without" means not having something that is expected.
    Imagine saying "I just saw an elephant without an umbrella."
    That would make sense only if you were watching a parade of elephants with umbrellas.
    If Mary says "Let's keep trying", her giving up is not expected, so "without giving up" doesn't fit here.
    On the other hand, you could say
    " 'I'm tired,' she said, (but) without giving up." (Without the giving up that you would expect from a tired person.)
    " 'It's all right, I guess,' she said, without [the] understanding [that is expected when someone makes a judgment like 'It's okay']."
     
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