Negative Structures(3): think, hope, seem,etc.

1 I don’t think.....

When we introduce negative ideas with ‘think’, ‘believe’, ’suppose’, ‘imagine’ and words with similar meanings, we usually make the first verb (think, etc.) negative, not the second.

a) I don’t think you are right.(More natural than ‘I think you are not right.’)
b) He doesn’t believe the American president will come.
(More natural than ‘He believes the American president will not come.’)
c) We can’t imagine our children won the championship.
d) Sandra doesn’t suppose she can achieve that far in her career.

However, surprise is often expressed with ‘I thought + negative.

Example: A: Would you like to join the Bayanihan Dance Troupe?
B: I thought I’d never be invited!

A: Gosh! I thought you’d never grow this tall!

2 I hope that.....not.....

This does not happen with ‘hope’.

a) She hopes that her flight isn’t delayed.
b) Billy hopes the exam won’t be too difficult.
c) We hope the plane tickets aren’t very expensive.

3 short answers: I suppose not....

We often use short forms to answer questions. When we use verbs like ‘think’, ‘believe’, etc.

a) The answer is ‘yes’, we add ‘so’ ( I expect so, I suppose so, etc.)
A: Can you come tomorrow?
B: I hope so.

A: Would you be prepared to stay on for an extra week?
B: I suppose so.

b)if the answer is ‘no’, we say ‘I don’t think so’....’I don’t suppose so’...
A: Is Makati the capital of the Philippines?
B: I don’t think so.

A: Did Frances come here this morning?
B: I don’t suppose so. Ask Hannah.

C most of these verbs can be followed by ‘not’
A: Will you try to see Jenny when you get back?
B: I believe not.

A: Are we leaving at 3:00 tomorrow morning?
B: I suppose not.

4 verbs followed by infinitives

Many verbs can be followed by infinitives. In informal style we often prefer to make the first verb negative rather than the infinitive, although this may not change the meaning at all. This happens, for example, with
appear, seem, expect, happen, intend, and want.

Examples: a) The Chinese don’t intend to give up the Spratley Islands.
b) Her daughter doesn’t happen to tell them her problems.
c) The ordinary folks don’t seem to agree with their local officials.
d) We didn’t expect to meet him at the airport.
e) He doesn’t appear to like the animals.
f) They don’t want to feed the dolphins.
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