Common mistake not certain (uncertain)

Common Mistake: Using "not" to express uncertainty

Linguix grammar checker can help you avoid this mistake.


One common mistake that many people make in their writing is using the word "not" to express uncertainty or doubt. While this may seem like a harmless choice of words, it can actually lead to confusion and ambiguity in your writing.

The Problem with "Not"

When we use "not" to express uncertainty, we are essentially creating a double negative. This can make the meaning of the sentence unclear and can lead to confusion for the reader.

For example:

  • "I am not certain if I can attend the party."

In this sentence, the use of "not" before the word "certain" creates a double negative. It implies that the speaker is certain, rather than uncertain, about attending the party. To express uncertainty correctly, the sentence should be rewritten as:

  • "I am uncertain if I can attend the party."

How to Express Uncertainty Correctly

Instead of using "not" to express uncertainty, it is better to choose words that explicitly convey doubt or uncertainty. Some examples include:

  • uncertain
  • doubtful
  • unsure
  • undecided
  • ambiguous

By using these words, you can provide clarity and precision in your writing, ensuring that your intended meaning is accurately conveyed.


Avoiding the use of "not" to express uncertainty will improve the clarity and effectiveness of your writing. By choosing words that explicitly convey doubt or uncertainty, you can ensure that your reader understands the intended meaning of your sentences.

not certain (uncertain) mistake examples

  • Incorrect:
    Future is not certain.

    Future is uncertain.

  • Correct:
    Future is uncertain.
Linguix Browser extension
Fix your writing
on millions of websites
Linguix pencil
This website uses cookies to make Linguix work for you. By using this site, you agree to our cookie policy