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In colloquial English, you say "Not that I know of" in reply to a yes-no question when you think the answer is in the negative but you are not 100% sure. I was wondering about the function of "that" in this expression. What is this? Is this the same 'that' (a subordinate conjunction) as in "I know that he is coming to the party"? Or is it the same as 'that' (a relative pronoun) in "This is the person that I talked to you about"? Or is it something else?

Thank you in advance for your help.

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Thank you, Rachel.
Could I ask you a follow-up question?

You said "not that I know of" can be paraphrased as in B below.

A: Is there going to be a change of administration?
B: (That's) NOT (anything) THAT I KNOW OF.

But does it mean the same thing as the original? In your paraphrase the speaker seems to be saying that s/he does not know the answer. But in my understanding, the orginal means that the speaker thinks the answer is no. What do you think?

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The paraphrase should have been written:

*There's* (not "that's") NOT (anything) THAT I KNOW OF.

This refers to the fact that the speaker does not know of the *existence* of the particular event or fact, but admits the possibility. The speaker is not exactly saying "no" to the original statement, although s/he believes that it is unlikely.

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Using "not that I know of" is a way of giving a negative answer with reservations--a "qualified" no. It leaves the door open for the speaker to be mistaken.

Here are some questions and answers from a Google search, with paraphrases of what the responses mean.

Do they have an appointment?" "Not that I know of," replied Jane, (No, they didn't have an appointment, at least as far as I know)

Aren't there any other questions? Not that I know of. (No, at least [there are] no questions that I know of)

Is Mrs. Johnson joining us for dinner ? Susie, Not that I know of. ... (No, at least there are no plans that I know of for her to do so)

Does he have email? Not that I know of (No, he doesn't have email, at least as far as I know)

I am 99 percent certain of one thing and that is, this craft was definitely not of
USAF origin or at least not that I know of, (It was not of USAF origin, at least as far as I know)

Has any movie (besides G-burg) ever done this? Not that I know of. (No, at least no movies that I know of have done so)

. Is David coming back to the show? Not that I know of. (David has no plans to come back, at least no plans that I know of)

Other similar expressions include

Not as far as I know/Not to my knowledge/Not that I can recall

Marilyn Martin
Thank you for the examples, Marilyn.

Could I ask a question about the accent pattern of this expression now? As far as I'm aware, 'not' and 'of' are usually pronounced with a relatively high pitch. I've also heard it pronounced with a stress on 'I'. What is the most common accent pattern for this expression?

Thank you for your help.

"Not that I know of" is usually pronounced with the stress on the "know," which also has the higher pitch.

A: Has Henry returned yet?
B: Not that I KNOW of.

A: Did they find the bank robbers?
B: Not that I KNOW of, but I sure hope they do.

A: Any news about our contracts?
B: Not that I KNOW of. It's frustrating to wait, isn't it?

It is also possible to stress the "I" in the phrase. In this case, the focus is slightly different:

A: I heard that some people are going to get promoted.
B: Not that I know of.
(Well, what you say may be true, but nobody told me.)

A: Doctor, isn't there a cure for this condition?
B: Not that I know of.
(Maybe there is a cure for the disease, but since I don't know about it, how good or
reliable a cure could it be?)

A: Didn't they change the flight schedule?
B: Not that I know of. So we'll just proceed as usual, since all decisions are supposed to go through me.

In this pattern, the I has the higher pitch as well as the higher stress. In this pattern, the focus is on the first person who, not having certain information, thinks that something can't be true, or, since s/he hasn't been informed about it, does not intend to act on it.

"Not that I KNOW of" is neutral in tone. "Not that I know of" focuses on some personal feeling about not knowing.


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