Anonymous asked in Education & ReferenceWords & Wordplay · 3 months ago

"Not to be okay" or "to be not okay" - which is correct and why?

3 Answers

  • 3 months ago

    I don't know if there's any "rule" about this, though there are always people making them up, but in real life "his decision turned out not to be okay" sounds normal and "his decision turned out to be not okay" doesn't. In fact "his decision turned out to not be okay" sounds better (despite the made-up "rule" about not splitting infinitives). Reason? Who knows? Just how people talk.

    Source(s): native English speaker
  • 3 months ago

    Kind of depends on whether it is not being ok, or being not ok.  Not quite the same things for me.  Kind of like, I don't feel so good versus I feel sick.  Not feeling good does not mean feeling bad, so not being ok (not really acceptable) does not mean being NOT ok (unacceptable).  There is a minor difference between not acceptable and unacceptable. Unacceptable is worse.  At least for me, personally.  I choose the placement of the negative with purpose.  Some people do not.

    For me, if I put the "Not" with the noun or adjective rather than with the verb, I mean that the thing itself is the opposite, its negation, rather than the action not happening or the state being untrue.  Lots of times it does not matter, but it can.

    Lv 5
    3 months ago

    The former is more common in usage but the latter is more accurate in meaning. I.e. the former is the negative form of a verb. The latter is the actual verb itself in its intended meaning denoting a negative action. E.g. you want to "be not okay" (accurately stating the thing you want to do which is to be in a particular state; the intended meaning) not that you want to not "be okay" (stating a thing you don't want to do, which is contrary to the intended meaning). Both are correct grammatically but the latter is more accurate in meaning.

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