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It will not be / It will be not

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It will not be / It will be not

Postby astaroth » Sat 08.08.2009 12:23 pm

Hi,
this time is about English. It's something bugging for quite some time but didn't find anyone to ask before :)
I'm wondering whether saying something like it will be not (or with any other modal verb) is grammatically correct. At times it feels to me more appropriate than it will not be especially when I want to stress the not part. A real situation when I answered it will be not was something like this:
last year while talking with my former advisor he asked whether a model would be reproducing a certain result and I answered "It will be not". The construct stumbled him a bit, but he is not a native speaker ...
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Re: It will not be / It will be not

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Sat 08.08.2009 12:40 pm

"It will be not" is not natural English to me. Even if you add an adjective, "It will not be finished" sounds much better than "It will be not finished".
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Re: It will not be / It will be not

Postby ニッキー » Sat 08.08.2009 1:13 pm

I agree with Yudan, it doesn't sound at all natural to me either.
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Re: It will not be / It will be not

Postby astaroth » Sat 08.08.2009 1:43 pm

Thanks. I was wrong then ... I've to remove a bad habit now ... :oops:
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Re: It will not be / It will be not

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Sat 08.08.2009 2:19 pm

Since this is in the English practice section I'll point something else out (sorry if this is rude).

This may be different by dialect so maybe others have different opinions. For me, the contraction of "I have" to "I've" is only done when it is being used as an auxiliary expressing present perfect.
For instance:
x I've five dollars. o I have five dollars.
x I've to go to the store today. o I have to go to the store today.
o I've seen that movie. o I have seen that movie.
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Re: It will not be / It will be not

Postby Hyperworm » Sat 08.08.2009 2:28 pm

I'm not entirely sure about when I'd use that.

I doubt I'd say "I've five dollars.",
but "I've five dollars on me, and a hundred in my bank account." seems OK (though "I have" is also fine, and Yudan's rule above on when to contract will lead to perfectly natural English).

I can't imagine using "I've to" in any situation, though I would probably accept it as old-style English in a book.
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Re: It will not be / It will be not

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Sat 08.08.2009 2:38 pm

Hyperworm wrote:I'm not entirely sure about when I'd use that.

I doubt I'd say "I've five dollars.",
but "I've five dollars on me, and a hundred in my bank account." seems OK (though "I have" is also fine, and Yudan's rule above on when to contract will lead to perfectly natural English).


Ah, yeah...to me the second sentence there is something I would not say, but it sounds acceptable.
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Re: It will not be / It will be not

Postby Mike Cash » Sat 08.08.2009 6:24 pm

Yudan Taiteki wrote:"It will be not" is not natural English to me. Even if you add an adjective, "It will not be finished" sounds much better than "It will be not finished".


That construction is not natural modern English. But it may have been natural English centuries ago. We find a similar construction in the phrase "it liketh me not", which was at least natural enough for William Shakespeare.

The construction can be found at least in some Tudor era writings:

To purify your souls that they be not corrupt ;
For your ghostly enemy will make his avaunt,
Your good conditions if he may interrupt.
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Re: It will not be / It will be not

Postby NileCat » Sun 08.09.2009 10:50 am

Hello, everyone.

I'm just curious how it sounds to you natives.

" He loves me, he loves me not..."

Thank you.
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Re: It will not be / It will be not

Postby Mike Cash » Sun 08.09.2009 2:19 pm

NileCat wrote:Hello, everyone.

I'm just curious how it sounds to you natives.

" He loves me, he loves me not..."

Thank you.


Both archaic and entirely familiar.
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Re: It will not be / It will be not

Postby astaroth » Mon 08.10.2009 7:55 am

Yudan Taiteki wrote:Since this is in the English practice section I'll point something else out (sorry if this is rude).

You were not rude, no worries. I actually didn't know whether posting the question on 英語の練習 was appropriate or not, since it was more a grammar question.
Anyway. Thank you very much for the corrections and explanations.
Mike Cash wrote:That construction is not natural modern English. But it may have been natural English centuries ago. We find a similar construction in the phrase "it liketh me not", which was at least natural enough for William Shakespeare.

I see. Despite me liking being compared to the Bard, I doubt it was a Shakespeare's play I had in mind when I first came out with that expression ... :oops:
NileCat wrote:" He loves me, he loves me not..."

And since we are here ... what about Fear you not which time to time I hear in tv shows or movies? (Though most of the time it is said in jest.)
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Re: It will not be / It will be not

Postby Mike Cash » Mon 08.10.2009 8:53 am

astaroth wrote:I see. Despite me liking being compared to the Bard, I doubt it was a Shakespeare's play I had in mind when I first came out with that expression ... :oops:


While googling around for some examples of the construction to use in my reply I came across a page which indicates a similar construction exists in German. As you probably know, English grammar derived at least in part from German and it isn't surprising to find a commonality in older texts. English usage has since evolved away from that construction to one in which we use "do not" before a verb for negation instead of using "not" after a verb. We still find the older construction completely understandable, but it sounds odd (archaic) to our modern ears.

We can divide verbs into three very broad classes according to their function:

1. Expressing existence (am, are, is, was, were)
2. Expressing possession (have, has)
3. Expression some sort of action (eat, drink, go, etc).

With the first we still use the form of "verb + not" to indicate negation.

With the second we use both "verb + not" and "do not + verb". Based on listening to old radio programs I get the impression that there was a school of thought that "do not + verb" was not considered "correct" or "proper" usage. Since I am hearing scripted examples of people trying to be "proper" rather than random man-on-the-street usage it is hard to know if both were in common use and if so what the ratio was and what the social implications were. It would be common to hear something like "Have you a match?" or "Haven't you a match?" Those would sound a bit odd or artificial to the ears of speakers of modern American English. Constructions such as "Do you have a match?" or "Don't you have a match?" are conspicuous by their almost complete absence. I can sort of understand how they arrived at this, as "do" derives from and indicates an action, while the function of indicating possession is arguably not an action, making the use of "do" technically incorrect. At least that is my thinking on the matter.

With the third the action verb "do" can considered to be a hidden but integral element of verbs such as I listed, and an element which can be extracted, moved forward in the sentence, and have "not" attached to it for negation. It is easier to understand what I mean if we use Japanese verbs with their stem endings indicating tense as examples: In 食べます, for example, it is the たべ portion which indicates what sort of action is going on, while the various endings (~ます、~ません、 etc) merely indicate the tense of the action. Think of the "do" as being the latter bit, but hidden within the English verbs. So we can extract that portion, indicative of an action verb and showing tense, and leave intact the portion which indicates what sort of action we're talking about. So we arrive at "do not eat" instead of "eat not" and "didn't go" instead of "went not".

I'm sure some of the more scholarly informed and pedantic of our friends will be along in short order to pick apart the above.
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Re: It will not be / It will be not

Postby two_heads_talking » Mon 08.10.2009 8:56 am

astaroth wrote:
NileCat wrote:" He loves me, he loves me not..."

And since we are here ... what about Fear you not which time to time I hear in tv shows or movies? (Though most of the time it is said in jest.)


Usually a phrase such as "Fear you not" or "He loves me, he loves me not" or "What light through yonder window breaks?" are so commonly quoted that it becomes standard usage even though it might not be so standard. It's like pulling a phrase from a dictionary. On the surface, it looks completely normal, but underneath the surface lies monsters..
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Re: It will not be / It will be not

Postby NocturnalOcean » Mon 08.10.2009 9:11 am

"What say you" seems to be a very common phrase. I was thinking of Lord of the rings, but apparently it seems to be pretty widespread.
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Re: It will not be / It will be not

Postby astaroth » Mon 08.10.2009 11:29 am

Mike Cash wrote:While googling around for some examples of the construction to use in my reply I came across a page which indicates a similar construction exists in German.[...]

Thank you so much for the very informed answer. I don't speak German so I didn't know that such a construction is present in the German language.
Thinking about ... I'm wondering whether swapping the negation and the verb is in some way connected at least unconsciously to the Milanese dialect, which -- since I'm from Milan -- forms the backbone of the regional variation of Italian I'm speaking. In Milanese indeed it's common and grammatically correct to put the negation after the verb like mi so no: "I don't know" but literally "I know not".
I always thought it was derived from some French influence, but it could very well be a German derivation, as northern dialects share more with Germanic languages than southern dialects and standard Italian.

By the way, your explanation about "do" reminded of what my English high school teacher used to say, that is that "do" is always there but it's invisible except for showing stress "I do eat" or negation "I don't eat".
two_heads_talking wrote:Usually a phrase such as "Fear you not" or "He loves me, he loves me not" or "What light through yonder window breaks?" are so commonly quoted that it becomes standard usage

Basically they are 'hidden' quotes or citations, like saying "de gustibus" and so on ...
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