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  •  Well, of course not... (2+ / 0-)
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    Murphoney, DvCM

    ... and I would give that one two harumphs and a snide glance.
    Personally, I have no problem splitting an infinitive to negate it, just as we do with a verb that is more than one word:

    I can go
    versus
    I can not go.

    BUT
    I decided to not give him a cookie
    versus
    I decided not to give him a cookie.

    The first one says to me, "He ain't gettin' a cookie, end of story."
    The second one says to me, "He ain't gettin' a cookie, but he might get something else instead."
    The second one screams "Finish that incomplete thought" to me.  

    "Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction." - Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), Pensées, #894

    by maf1029 on Sun May 27, 2012 at 12:19:13 PM PDT

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    •  and that is curious -- as you've brought it up, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      maf1029

      it seems I read those examples with a near perfectly inverse begging for more information...

      While the second seems to me conditional ("If it weren't too close to dinnertime, I would have decided to give him a cookie") but commonplace, I agree that the first is definitive ("No way, no how is he getting a cookie.") and I need to know what the heck he did to piss me off.

      It seems curiosity has killed the cat that had my tongue.

      by Murphoney on Sun May 27, 2012 at 12:35:26 PM PDT

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      •  I'm a German speaker... (0+ / 0-)

        .... and since German infinitives are one word (usually), the issue of splitting the infinitive is moot.

        IIRC, in Germanic languages (English is one), negation of a verb or verbal occurs as close to the verb as possible.
        So there would be a difference between "to not give" and "not to give." IMO, that difference would not deal with mood, as you suggested.

        Then again, I also speak Dutch, and I am crazed from dealing with future infinitives (te zullen gaan = to shall go), so who knows? ☺

        And I do think I got those backwards in my example, so IMO, you are correct.

        "Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction." - Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), Pensées, #894

        by maf1029 on Sun May 27, 2012 at 01:32:38 PM PDT

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