Anonymous
Anonymous asked in Education & ReferenceWords & Wordplay · 10 years ago

is this use of 'not unless' correct?

If we travel in distant land, still uncharted on the map, and find a new mountain, can we say that we invented the mountain? Not unless we were insane.

I thought Not means we cannot, so this is really "We cannot (=Not) (say it was invented) unless we were insane.

or should i have said "not unless we are sane"?

can someone explain this to me?

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  • 10 years ago
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    Unless means if not.

    Not unless means "if"

    Will I pass this test? If you study. Unless you don't study Not unless you study.

    The "not" cancels the "unless". "Not unless" = "if".

    Can we say we invented the mountain? If we were insane, we could.

    Source(s): BA Linguistics MEd TESOL 28 years of explaining this stuff
  • Anonymous
    10 years ago

    Our friend zinn is right, as usual, but I'd add that it's perfectly good informal English. A search of the 100-million-word British National Corpus (1970s-1993) at Brigham Young (see link) for "not unless" gives 120 hits, almost all from fiction. The same search of the 400+ million-word Corpus of Contemporary American English (1990-2009) gave 339, mostly fiction and journalism.

  • 10 years ago

    In theory it is correct but it is a horrible example of proper English, American or other former colony. The author is trying to impress him/her self with there ability to use words.

    With just a little poetic license, since the subject is portrayed light hearted I would say;

    Should we chance upon a new mountain in our travel to distant, uncharted land; shall we claim invention rather than discovery just to prove sanity was not amongst our possessions?

    I don't do ESL professionally but I've helped a number of folks over the past 30+ years and find this sort of approach more effective because it leads to a lot of innocuous discussion. Learning the hard words can be fun and then the easy words come easy because you've already used them without realizing it.

  • Anonymous
    10 years ago

    Either way is right as understood in English terms, but technically speaking you've got it correct. Not unless is a contradiction. But it really doesn't matter that much.

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  • Anonymous
    4 years ago

    This Site Might Help You.

    RE:

    is this use of 'not unless' correct?

    If we travel in distant land, still uncharted on the map, and find a new mountain, can we say that we invented the mountain? Not unless we were insane.

    I thought Not means we cannot, so this is really "We cannot (=Not) (say it was invented) unless we were insane.

    or should i have said...

    Source(s): 39 39 correct: https://biturl.im/SR3S5
  • eddi
    Lv 4
    3 years ago

    Not Unless

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