Is assertion followed by "not" a recent American neologism? NOT! "I love thee not" was the regular word order in Shakespeare's day. Examples including the pause are harder to find; the earliest that we've found is in Irish dialect, in Ellis Parker Butler's _Pigs is Pigs_ (1905): "Proceed to collect," he said softly. "How them cloiks do loike to be talkin'! _Me_ proceed to collect two dollars and twinty-foive cints off Misther Morehouse! I wonder do thim clerks _know_ Misther Morehouse? I'll git it! Oh, yes! 'Misther Morehouse, two an' a quarter, plaze.' 'Cert'nly, me dear frind Flannery. Delighted!' _Not!_" Clay Blankenship found a citation from "circa 1906" in the comic strip _Buster Brown_ on page 32 of _The Comics: An Illustrated History of Comic Strip Art_ by by Jerry Robinson (Putnam, 1974). A girl in the strip says, "Swell time I had -- NOT!" Jesse Sheidlower writes: "Jonathan Lighter and I wrote an article about this in _American Speech_ in 1993, which included the 1905 E. P. Butler quote as well as an earlier (1900) quote from George Ade that's somewhat equivocal; we also cited a number of later but still early uses including F. Scott Fitzgerald, Edmund Wilson, and others. Since then we've found an even earlier one (1893 _Princeton Tiger_ (Mar. 30) 103: An Historical Parallel-- Not.) as well as more early examples (though the Buster Brown example is new to us)." e. e. cummings wrote a poem beginning: pity this busy monster manunkind not. Credit to David Murray for bringing the cummings example to our attention. And Wanda Keown found the following in Fritz Leiber's _Conjure Wife_ (1943): "Norman thought: Country parsonage? Healthy mental atmosphere, not!" The construction owes its present popularity to the "Wayne's World" skits in the U.S. TV show _Saturday Night Live_. The first use in SNL was in the 1970s in a skit with Jane Curtin and Steve Martin. (It is said that the writers of these skits encountered the practice when it was a fad in their high school in the Toronto suburb of Scarborough.) Another phrase that comes from SNL is "Isn't that special?" (the Church Lady, played by Dana Carvey).
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