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I wonder if ...not

nekocat

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This is from one episode of Tintin .
Well Tintin old man, you've lived through plenty of adventures...But I wonder if this isn't going to be your last.

Would eliminating "not" in the sentence change the meaning of the sentence?☝
 

JimmySeal

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"I wonder if this is going to be your last."
simple curiosity - "I'm curious about whether this will be your last or not.

"I wonder if this isn't going to be your last."
weak prediction - "I think this might be your last."
 

bakaKanadajin

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If you break it down and take the first part alone..

"I wonder if this isn't..."

and if you really get literal with it, I suppose the original assumption was that this wasn't going to be his last adventure but now the speaker thinks it may in fact be his last.

So..

Tintin: "This is not my last adventure,"
Some guy: "I wonder if this (really) isn't,"

But grammatically, its a 50/50 thing, either it 'is' or it 'isnt', so the language itself doesn't really have a preference one way or another. In passing, if I heard your suggestion (I wonder if it is) in natural conversation, I'd think it was a simple question. If I heard the original quote, (I wonder if it isn't) I'd feel there was a slight suggestion or innuendo. A little bit of wondering.
 

Sarapva

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To me, both ways have the same meaning, using "is" or "isn't".
 

nekocat

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Thanks for the valuable input!👍

I found from your answers that

1. to some of you, eliminating "not" wouldn't change the meaning.
2. to some of you, "wonder" in "I wonder if this is..." means similar to "suspect", but "wonder" in "I wonder if this isn't..." is more closer to "doubt." That I find very intriguing!:)
 

Half-n-Half

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This thread made me realize how subtle and ambiguous English is :). I think you got the meanings dead-on nekocat. Good luck in studying English!
 

nekocat

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Thanks Half-n-Half, your comment encouraged me tremendously!
 
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