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English definition of “not at all”

not at all

B1 used as a polite reply after someone has thanked you: " Thanks for helping ." "Not at all."Polite expressions B2 used to say "no" or "not" strongly : "Was he a nuisance ?" "No, not at all." I'm not at all happy about it.Intensifying expressions Grammar:No or not?No and not are the two most common words we use to indicate negation. We use no before a noun phrase:Grammar:NotNot is one of the most common words we use to indicate negation. It is often shortened to n’t and joined to an auxiliary verb or modal verb:Grammar:Not in negative statements (She hasn’t …, I did not …)We form negative declarative clauses with not after be (she is not talking), after modal verbs (they must not go) and after auxiliary verbs do and have (we did not like it; they have not eaten).Grammar:Not and n’t in questions (Did younot …? Wasn’t she …?)We use not or n’t to form negative questions:Grammar:Don’t, Do not: orders and instructionsWe use don’t + the base form of the verb or do + not + the base form of the verb to make negative imperatives. We use these to give orders, instructions or commands. Do not is stronger and much more formal:Grammar:Not: short repliesWe use not in negative short replies with mental process verbs (e.g. be afraid, guess, hope):Grammar:Not: contrastWe often use not after but to express a contrast. We often leave out the verb phrase or part of it in the second clause:Grammar:Not + -ing and not + toWe use not before an -ing clause in more formal styles:Grammar:Or notWe can use or not in questions to ask about a range of possibilities:Grammar:So and not with expect, hope, think, etc.We can use so after some verbs instead of repeating an object clause, especially in short answers. The verbs we do this with most are: appear, assume, be afraid (meaning ‘regret’), believe, expect, guess, hope, imagine, presume, reckon, seem, suppose, think:
(Definition of not at all from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

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