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@Meriem posted:

"To not" or "not to"? Is this matter related to formality?

- "To not" /  "not to" become dehydrated, drink water every hour even if you don't feel thirsty.
- Write down a reminder "to not" / "not to" forget your appointment.

Hi, Meriem—When "not" is being used to negate an infinitival clause functioning as complement, it is better to place "not" before "to" rather than after it:

  • Write down a reminder not to forget your appointment.

However, when the infinitival clause is a purpose clause, you cannot begin the clause with "not to." You must use "in order" or "so as" before "not to":

  • In order not to become dehydrated, drink water every hour.
  • So as not to become dehydrated, drink water every hour.

You can also say: "To avoid becoming dehydrated, drink water every hour."

@Meriem posted:

I think the first sentence can express the purpose as well.

  • Write down a reminder _____  forget your appointment.

Why should he write down a reminder? ----> in order not to forget his appointment.

Meriem, what David told you is that you should write:

  • Write down a reminder not to forget your appointment.

rather than:

- Write down a reminder to not forget your appointment.

He also told you to use "in order not to" or "so as not to" rather than "not to" at the beginning:

  • In order not to become dehydrated, drink water every hour.
  • So as not to become dehydrated, drink water every hour.

He never told you not to use "in order not to" or "so as not to" in the middle of the sentence, which you can certainly use:

  • Write down a reminder in order not to forget your appointment.
  • Write down a reminder so as not to forget your appointment
Last edited by Gustavo, Co-Moderator

I have further questions if it is possible



If we inverse these two clauses:

  • In order not to become dehydrated, drink water every hour.

It becomes:

  • Drink water every hour "In order not"/"so as not to" become dehydrated.


Q1: Could we consider " become dehydrated" as a compliment in this case?

Q2: If yes, we can afford to replace "in order to" / " so as to" with "not to" according to your saying @David, Moderator ?

Hi, Meriem—When "not" is being used to negate an infinitival clause functioning as complement, it is better to place "not" before "to" rather than after it:

  • Write down a reminder not to forget your appointment.


Thank you in advance.

Last edited by Meriem
@Meriem posted:

I have further questions if it is possible


If we inverse these two clauses:

  • In order not to become dehydrated, drink water every hour.

It becomes:

  • Drink water every hour "In order not"/"so as not to" become dehydrated.

Q1: Could we consider " become dehydrated" as a compliment in this case?



No. Either way, "in order not to become dehydrated" / "so as not to become dehydrated" are adjuncts/modifiers, not complements. However, in end position, another reading of the infinitive-clause adjunct is possible, namely, "for the sake of" ("Drink water every hour for the sake of not becoming dehydrated").

@Meriem posted:

Q2: If yes, we can afford to replace "in order to" / " so as to" with "not to" according to your saying @David, Moderator ?

No. It is not a compliment, and it cannot be replaced with "not to."

Incidentally, "according to your saying" sounds horrendously non-native in this context, Meriem. What you were trying to say is "according to what you said."

To sum up and to make sure to understand:

In case (1) "in order not to"/"so as not to" are interchangeable with "not to" because here the clause is considered as a compliment. While for case (2) it's not possible because the clause is considered as "adjunct/modifier"

Case (1):  Write down a reminder not to /so as not to/ in order to forget your appointment

Case (2):  Drink water every hour In order not/so as not to become dehydrated.

I appreciate your time and effort in explaining. It's noted for  "according to what you said."

Last edited by Meriem

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