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Hi,

Mike was a man who knew not John's past or that John was violent.

Can we use use 'knew not' like this?

Thanks.

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Yes, but it will seem bit odd unless you write all of your document in this unusual kind of old-fashioned style.

I'd say Mike was a man who knew not John's past nor that John was violent.

Clive

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anonymous

Hi,

Mike was a man who knew not John's past or that John was violent.

Can we use use 'knew not' like this?

Thanks.

No. Not in today's world.

Here are excerpts from the early 1800s, when "knew not" was still occasionally used. To be consistent, you would have to use all the other elements of this style, such as "whence" and "whither", "toucht" and "bedew'd", and weird spellings and capitalization like "Stoicks", not to mention a much more liberal sprinkling of commas than is natural today.

The philosophers, who considered nature, not as it was by sin, but as it ought to be in itself, measured their virtues by that rule, and therefore knew not the virtue of humility, nor used that of penance; And the virtues of magnanimity, constancy, and magnificence they extended so far, that many actions, which the Stoicks and Peripateticks called virtuous, may be esteemed vicious.

I knew not for all that, of whence I came, or whither I went, neither was I capable to weigh and consider, what was said to me: these were light effects, that the senses produced of themselves, as of custom; what the soul contributed was in a dream, as being lightly toucht, lick'd and bedew'd by the soft impression of the senses.

At length he determined to sift it thoroughly, because he knew not how far the contagion had spread, and thought it advisable to sacrifice justice, in some degree, to the public good, by forbearing to prosecute many that were guilty.

CJ