The following pairs look like they have similar sentence constructions, but some take "not" in the main clause and others don't. I wonder why.

Of the two (3)and (4), I have been told (4) is more frequently used, but (3) is a good sentence as well. What is the difference between the two? The same with (7) and (8)?

(1)I guess he won't come. (good.)
(2)*I don't guess he will come.( bad? I'm not sure.)

(3)I think he won't come.( good.)
(4)I don't think he will come. (good.)

(5)I hope he won't come. (good.)
(6)*I don't hope he will come.( bad.)

(7) I expect he won't come. (good.)
(8) I don't expect he will come. (good.)

apple

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You're wondering about a rather special feature of several English verbs. With these verbs, even when the idea in the subordinate clause or verbal complement is negative, it is the verb in the main clause that gets the negative marker not (n't). This phenomenon is called negative raising, or negative transportation. The negative in the subordinate clause or infinitive complement is "raised" or "transported" to the verb in the main clause.

The most common of these verbs is want:

She doesn't want her husband to work there any longer = She wants her husband not to work there any longer

According to Huddleston and Pullum*, such verbs fall into two categories:

Verbs of wanting: choose, intend, mean, plan

Verbs of perception: appear, feel, look, sound, seem (p. 840)

Quirk et al.** add others:

Verbs of opinion: , think, anticipate, be supposed to, believe, calculate, expect, imagine, suppose

Verbs of perception: feel as if, sound as if (p. 1033)

So we have sentence like the following:

She doesn't think she has a chance for the job = She thinks she doesn't have a chance for the job

He doesn't look as if he's enjoying our company = He looks as if he isn't enjoying our company

They didn't expect that we would catch them lying= They expected that we wouldn't catch them lying

The company doesn't plan to open its books to investigators = The company plans not to open its books to investigators

Sentences 2 and 6 are not standard English. The verbs guess (except in regional English) and hope do not belong to this small group.

These verbs have to be learned individually. A good idea for learning them is to notice how they're used with negatives in speech and writing.

Marilyn Martin

*The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language (2002)

**A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language (Longman, 1985)
Thank you always for your reply.

Since the two following sentences are shown as equals, I assume they mean the same.

She doesn't think she has a chance for the job = She thinks she doesn't have a chance for the job

Many references and dictionaries I've read say that the first type is preferred over the second

***Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English states under the item "think"*****

In negative sentences, the negative normally goes with think, not with the next verb: I don't think she'll come.| The didn't think he was good enough.
**********************
So, if both types are grammatically acceptable, what is the difference?
Just the style and preference?

Do the following two carry different nuances?
(a)I don't think he is a bachelor.
(b)I think he is not a bachelor.

apple
With a couple of these verbs, there can be a difference.

Expect and choose exhibit slight differences. For example:

1a) I don't expect to be interrupted for the next hour, so we can talk frankly

The speaker has no reason to believe that there will be any interruption.

2b) I expect not to be interrupted for the next hour. Is that understood?

2b expresses a clear expectation: an absence of interruptions. It can even be a directive, letting the hearer know that s/he should not interrupt the speaker for the next hour

Choose is particularly different in the two forms: with the negative on the main verb, the choice is simply not made:

3a) She didn't choose to be born a blonde

*She chose not to be born a blonde (not possible)

With the negative on the complement, the choice is deliberate

3b) She chose not to honor her obligation to the bank

Most of the other such verbs have no major differences in the two forms, but the negative is usually on the main verb, not the verb in the subordinate clause or complement. You might try a Google search using each form and see whether you perceive a difference.

Marilyn Martin
Sorry to bother you again.

I understand the phenomenon called negative transportation.

I also did some search on the Mconc Corpus and found that with the verb "think" the instances of negative transportation far outweigh those of the other type.

My question is what makes the speaker in the following instances choose non-negative transportation rather than the far more common default, the negative transportation.

My humble observation is that the speaker in (1) wants to emphasize that her grandmother was not a devoted gardener. She has specific reasons for her opinion. Also, the speaker in (3) wants to stress that he was not his first choice?

On a separate note, in (2) the speaker says "... would have not signed..." but in (4) the speaker says "...there would not have been..."

Can "not" be placed in either position,before or after "have"?

*****corpus samples***********
(1)It was mother who planted the verbenas. I think that my grandmother was not
an impassioned gardener: she was too indulgent a lover of dogs and
grandchildren. (Brown corpus).

(2)A lot of things grew from it, I believe -- Clinton's re-election. Probably, they could not have addressed or, at least, talked about eliminating the budget deficit. I think they would have not signed and passed a welfare bill if the economy had been low. So, I think that was the big story. (CNN)

(3)BILL PRESS: Yeah. Why wasn't he your first choice if you're so hot on him?
Sen. JOHN McCAIN: I think that he was not my first choice because Phil Gramm and I have a very close personal relationship. I think he and Phil share the same-(CNN)

(4)Now George R. Ames Jr., 53, is the first black to sit on the
Dorchester County Orphans' Court. He won election in the fall in one of
the new districts. When he ran for an at-large position in 1990, he got
only a small percentage of the votes, he said.
"If it was not for the districts, I think there would not have been an opportunity for an African –American to win." he said.(WT).

apple
Generally, if the negative is on the verb in the dependent clause or complement, it is felt to be stronger than if the negative is on the main verb. For the same reason, the main verb is felt to be strongly affirmative. For example:

(1)It was mother who planted the verbenas. I think that my grandmother was not
an impassioned gardener: she was too indulgent a lover of dogs and grandchildren. (Brown corpus).

You are correct. The statement about the grandmother is stronger than if the writer had said "I don't think my grandmother was...." If she had said this, she would not have been expressing such a firm opinion.


(2)A lot of things grew from it, I believe -- Clinton's re-election. Probably, they could not have addressed or, at least, talked about eliminating the budget deficit. I think they would have not signed and passed a welfare bill if the economy had been low. So, I think that was the big story. (CNN)

As in (1), the speaker's belief is stronger than if the negative were on the main verb believe.

Not is almost always placed between the modal verb (would could, should, etc.) and the auxiliary verb have. Although not usual, the word order in (2) may occur in the course of spontaneous speech.

(3)BILL PRESS: Yeah. Why wasn't he your first choice if you're so hot on him?
Sen. JOHN McCAIN: I think that he was not my first choice because Phil Gramm and I have a very close personal relationship. I think he and Phil share the same-Ã…iCNNÃ…j

Here the speaker is echoing what the other person has just said; he is not making an original statement. The not on the dependent verb has nothing to do with the main verb think. The meaning of the statement is "I think that the reason he was not my first choice was that...."

(4)Now George R. Ames Jr., 53, is the first black to sit on the
Dorchester County Orphans' Court. He won election in the fall in one of
the new districts. When he ran for an at-large position in 1990, he got
only a small percentage of the votes, he said. "If it was not for the districts, I think there would not have been an opportunity for an African –American to win." he said.(WT).
apple

Example (4) illustrates the usual position of not in a modal perfect--between the modal and have.

Marilyn Martin
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