in order not to

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in order not to

Post by azz » Mon Jan 28, 2019 7:38 am

a. He didn't say a word about what his boss's son had done in the office last week. It was in order to please his boss.
b. He didn't say a word about what his boss's son had done in the office last week. It was to please his boss.

c. He didn't say a word about what his boss's son had done in the office last week. It was in order not to displease his boss.
d. He didn't say a word about what his boss's son had done in the office last week. It was not to displease his boss.​
e. He didn't say a word about what his boss's son had done in the office last week. It was to not displease his boss.​


Which are grammatically correct and work in this context?

I find (c) and (d) somewhat problematic. (e) has a split infinitive. I don't think that is a big deal at all. But (d) can be read in two ways. It could mean the same as (c) and (e), but it could also mean
f. It wasn't to displease his boss.

Is that correct?

Many thanks.
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Re: in order not to

Post by tony h » Mon Jan 28, 2019 7:00 pm

I don't have a problem with any of them. Although they all have the ambiguity of wondering to what "it" refers: "he didn't say a word" or "what the boss's son had done".

I agree with you about d. A fuller context would probably resolve it.
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Signature: tony

I'm puzzled therefore I think.

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