The usage of a NOT

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tomonori

Member
Japanese
I might be taught that I cannot say that
This isn't a pen.

I should say that
This is not a pen.

I am not sure about that but it means like ,
you cannot use "isn't" in a full sentence.

So it means like, you cannot say like this.

He isn't a doctor.
This isn't a pen.
It isn't his bag.
They aren't students.


Is this true?
 
  • xqby

    Senior Member
    English (U.S.)
    You can use contractions in full sentences. Writing out the verbs will make your writing a seem a bit more formal, but there's nothing wrong with contracting "not."
     

    mplsray

    Senior Member
    I might be taught that I cannot say that
    This isn't a pen.

    I should say that
    This is not a pen.

    I am not sure about that but it means like ,
    you cannot use "isn't" in a full sentence.

    So it means like, you cannot say like this.

    He isn't a doctor.
    This isn't a pen.
    It isn't his bag.
    They aren't students.


    Is this true?
    It used to be that in edited English contractions such as isn't and aren't were avoided except when representing dialogue. Nowadays, edited writing often has such contractions. Try searching for a phrase such as "the company isn't" or "the authorities weren't" in Google Books and you will see examples in nonfiction as well as fiction.

    In fact, I have read that the editors of the Wall Street Journal prefer to use contractions ending in -n't to the verb followed by the word not because it lessens the possibility of the word not falling out during editing and thus changing the entire meaning of the sentence.

    As for speech, contractions are generally used rather than the verb followed by not. One of the ways to make an android or robot in a work of fiction sound nonhuman is to have it avoid contractions when speaking, as is pointed out in the TV Tropes site here:

    In English, a robot may often speak without contractions, even though a contraction would be one of the easiest parts of speech to program a computer to do correctly.
     

    Spira

    Banned
    UK English
    I might be taught that I cannot say that
    This isn't a pen.

    I should say that
    This is not a pen.

    I am not sure about that but it means like ,
    you cannot use "isn't" in a full sentence.

    So it means like, you cannot say like this.

    He isn't a doctor.
    This isn't a pen.
    It isn't his bag.
    They aren't students.


    Is this true?
    In the end it comes down to the fact that you have been taught incorrectly. Teachers of foreign languages often create rules that don't exist in order to simplify the understanding. Real life is more complicated.
     
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