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definition of the word not

by the Wiktionnary

Rank of this word in the English language, from analyzing texts from Project Gutenberg.
as had you #18: not be at by

Middle English, compare nought


  1. Negates the meaning of the modified verb.
    I may be many things, but I am not a crook.
    Did you take out the trash? No, I did not.
    Not knowing any better, I went ahead.

In modern usage, the form do not ... (or don’t ...) is preferred to ... not for all but a short list of verbs (is/am/are/was/were, have/has/had, do/does/did, can/could, shall/should, will/would, may/might, need):

American usage tends to prefer don’t have or haven’t got to have not or haven’t, except when have is used as an auxiliary (or in the idiom have-not):

The verb need is only directly negated when used as an auxiliary, and even this usage is rare in the US.

The verb dare can sometimes be directly negated.

Definition from Wiktionary
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