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Hi teachers,

This sentence pattern with negatives confuses me:

She never complained. But sometimes I'd wonder if she didn't feel just a little bit isolated being stuck with me all day.

What about:

She never complained. But sometimes I'd wonder if she felt just a little bit isolated being stuck with me all day.

Thanks
TN
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tinanam0102 Hi teachers,This sentence pattern with negatives confuses me:She never complained. But sometimes I'd wonder if she didn't feel just a little bit isolated being stuck with me all day.What about:She never complained. But sometimes I'd wonder if she felt just a little bit isolated being stuck with me all day.ThanksTN
The verb "wonder (if)" allows a pleonastic negative (unnecessary and meaningless negative). Thus, the negative form has virtually the same meaning as the affirmative form; nevertheless the negative form is closer in meaning to "I'll bet that".

I wonder if she forgot that we're supposed to meet here. (I'm puzzled.)
I wonder if she didn't forget that we're supposed to meet here. (I'll bet that she forgot. That's my guess.)

CJ
Comments  
tinanam0102This sentence pattern with negatives confuses me:

She never complained. But sometimes I'd wonder if she didn't feel just a little bit isolated being stuck with me all day.

What about:

She never complained. But sometimes I'd wonder if she felt just a little bit isolated being stuck with me all day.
My gosh! To be honest, I must admit that it has confused me too!

I think both would be correct. Think about it the direct speech. Each option you've presented converts, respectively, to ‘Sometimes I'd wonder, “Doesn't she feel just a little bit isolated [...]”’ and ‘Sometimes I'd wonder, “Does she feel just a little bit isolated [...]”’.

What do you think now? I think the second option is more objective — you are really asking if she felt isolated, and that's what you want to know —, whilst the first one seems to be a bit more rhetoric... I can't explain it well, but it sort of assumes that she probably does feel just a bit isolated, and a confirmation is ‘requested’ by asking the opposite — more or less like in a question-tag, as in ‘She probably feels a bit isolated, doesn't she?. It seems to create the same effect as in a question-tag.

Don't you think so? (another example)
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 CalifJim's reply was promoted to an answer.
Hi CalifJim,

There's this sentence: I wonder if she likes it or not

Can you write I wonder if she forgot that we're supposed to meet here or not?

Thanks
TN
tinanam0102Can you write I wonder if she forgot that we're supposed to meet here or not?
Fine. "wonder if ... or not" is a common sentence pattern. Of course, you don't ever need "or not" because it's implied, but people often add it anyway.

CJ
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Hi CalifJim,

I like the version without 'or not', which would be the same way we speak in our dialect, but it's good to know it's the same.
Thanks so much for your help.

TN