My advice is "to not" give up

My advice is to not give up.
My advice is not to give up.
I don’t know which one is correct.
Thank you!

They are both correct… I guess maybe #2 is more common. For some reason it feels better to say “not to” than “to not.” But I prefer to use #1 because I think the meaning is less ambiguous. With #2 you can’t be sure whether “not” negates “is” or “give.” With #1 “not” can only negate “give.”


I think the lack of contraction for ‘My advice is not to give up’ (as opposed to 'My advice isn’t to give up) shows that the ‘not’ is attached to ‘to give’. I think ‘My advice is not to give up’ is more correct but that people often use the other way. More discussion about negatives and infinitives here: negation - Order of "not" with infinitive - English Language & Usage Stack Exchange

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Both correct.

I don’t think the contraction can show that because if you needed to emphasize what your advice is “not,” e.g. to somebody who has the wrong idea about what your advice is, it seems to me there would be good odds that you’d want to emphasize the “not” and not contract it.

I think most speakers would say “My advice is not to give up” for both meanings, and actually whether “not” is emphasized would probably determine which way I interpret it.

I think the example of your link, “I tried not to do that,” shows there is clearly nothing wrong with “not to + verb” though.

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They are essentially the same, and I think you could use both interchangeably if you wanted. however, you could probably see the very subtle different (if there is one), in this example:


My advice is NOT “to give up.” However, I think you should take a break for a while.


My advice is “to not give up.” In other words, keep going.

Yes, I would concur with this. “My advice is NOT to give up” sounds as if somebody has asked the question as to whether or not they should give up. Both seem fine though, you have to look hard to see any difference, if indeed there is one.

They are both equivalent, but I tend to disagree with most responses here. I would probably say “My advice is to not give up.” There are probably formal style and grammar guides that call one “correct” and denigrate the other, and they probably disagree with me, too.

To my midwestern ears it sounds like this: My advice is to . My advice is to , or my advice is to .

If I say: My advice is not , I feel like I’ve told you what my advice isn’t, but not what it is. Both of us would know what I really meant, though.

Putting something (usually an adverb) between “to” and the verb is called a “split infinitive”. That was long frowned upon in formal speech and writing, but it is a native feature of English and no longer considered so improper. Those who advised against the split infinitive were perhaps swayed by their formal education in classical languages such as Latin where it is not possible to split an infinitive. English, however, is not Latin.


I would say: My advice is “don’t give up”.

As stated, both are correct. They sound to me like you are answering a question about giving up.

The first would be better phrased, “My advice is, do not give up.” Likewise, the second phrase “My advice is to never give up”.

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